EDITORIAL: Protecting our forests starts with you

Careless behaviour costs us all

Despite the wet, cold weather we endured this spring, July arrived breathing fire and we are all feeling the heat.

With roughly 200 wild fires raging throughout the province and 14,000 people forced to evacuate their homes, this year is already in the same league as 2003, which was a high water line regarding loss of hectares, natural resources, property and homes. It’s so bad that there’s been discussion about implementing a total forest ban if the situation worsens. Not to mention the state of emergency that’s already been declared.

Historically, Vancouver Island has managed to dodge the kind of devastation that has ravaged other parts of the province, but don’t think for one moment we are immune. A high number of urban centres on the Island are surrounded by stretches of forest that thrive metres away from clusters of homes. That’s the norm throughout much of the Capital Region, especially in parts of the West Shore, which means we’re one thoughtlessly tossed butt or careless campfire away from the kind of images burning through our screens every night.

Despite pleas from our local fire chiefs for smokers to exercise supreme caution and the campfire bans in place, there are those who still don’t get it. An alarming percentage of the fires being fought at the moment are tied to human causes, so the focus needs to be placed on all of us to be much more diligent.

There’s little point in debating the effectiveness of an $81 fine for throwing a butt out of your vehicle or the $575 charge under the B.C. Wildlife Act issued to a motorist in Abbotsford this week for doing just that. We need to take extra precautions that extend beyond boundaries to what goes on in our own backyards. Whether it’s a barbecue unattended momentarily, a circuit overloaded by a fan or a spark from a power tool, the odds of a disaster striking are greatly increased during extremely dry conditions.

So take a few moments to go over the fire plan in your home and ensure you have the necessities you need nearby in the event of a worst case scenario. Take a careful walk around your home and property and remove debris or overgrown vegetation that could fuel a fire. Sometimes a little extra effort is required to spare us from the unthinkable.

For the latest updates on forest fires throughout the province go to goldstreamgazette.com.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Legal action against B.C. specualtion tax a last resort

Group of Arizona home owners feel they’ve been swept up in an attack on land speculators

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Rock the Rink gives youth once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Winning band will get to play a set at Rock the Shores

Saanich speculates on exemption from real estate tax

Saanich will formally ask the provincial government to opt out of a… Continue reading

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

UPDATE: Saanich cracks down on owners of unsightly property

Council’s decision came despite public pleas from affected owners

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Public can weigh in on Cordova Bay Local Area Plan

The District of Saanich is in the process of updating the Cordova… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

Most Read