The Kokanee Creek fire in August. Photo: Eva Anandi Brownstein

LETTER: Fund wildfire suppression the same as municipal fire departments

From reader Marc Heroux

This newby to the Koots is confused about British Columbians’ mixed messages on fires. It was OK for a 60-foot-wide slash that I witnessed burning completely unattended in 30-degree heat during the May long weekend 20 feet from a Retallack forest. But have a campfire, attended in a contained steel firepit by a lake and I’m threatened with a fine for this might grow into an unattended 60-foot-wide slash fire?

Wow. How am I supposed to read this … and still give fire wardens, fire police and policy makers all the credibility they need to keep intelligent people onboard. Believe me I want to make our fire suppression leaders’ job easy and obstacle-less but something doesn’t jive here within me.

It seems that the campfire ban and ensuing motorized vehicle ban is reflective not of an annually well managed preventive strategy but ultimately reflective of a lack in resources. Fair enough. Old school approaches always precede new school.

The trend as in other sectors seems to be “let the masses be the pressure relief.” Hence as long as fire suppression leaders accept that their mandate’s main obstacle is budgetary, that they’ll never get enough money to have a well oiled fire suppressing machine then naturally it will go from campfire ban to motorized vehicle ban to outright everybody is banned from the bush in B.C. every summer. Forever.

Fire departments across Canada ensure that local fire halls are filled up with manpower and fire trucks. With their four-minute (or whatever) response. Every year. Every municipality.

It’s time to fund the wildfire suppression teams in exactly the same way. For all of B.C. Every summer. Make sure that every region has all the manpower and all the equipment and aircraft and latest in strategic advances to keep everyone safe. Any and all new fires are completely under control within 24 hours or whatever amount of time.

People deserve fire suppression, not people suppression.

Marc Heroux

Nelson