Wildfire risk reduction is a serious business, that a lot of us don’t take very seriously until we have a close call. We’ll make some effort for a while after that – trim back some of our conifer trees, rake those dead leaves out from under the deck, shift the firewood away from the house and so on. But that gets tedious after a while and we settle back into the normal frame of mind that acts as if ‘it’s probably never going to happen here.’
Except when pressed, nobody actually believes that or can justify it. Because sooner or later….
Sooner, when it comes to northern California this summer, where several people have died because the fires came in too fast. And Greece – the death toll from wildfire is around 90 this summer. And we won’t soon forget the images from Portugal from last year, where a wildfire moved so fast it incinerated cars on a highway. And let’s not forget to mention Alberta firefighter Jerry Gadwa, who died doing his job in Ontario last month.
It’s true there are fires that are going to burn your houses and towns no matter what you do. But there are also fires that can be discouraged, turned aside, made more manageable, by hazard reduction activities. This has been proven in test after test.