Letter: Retired forester questions Fort McMurray wild fire response

George Benwell Sr. questions initial response on Fort McMurray wildfire.

Editor,

Over the past number of years, British Columbia and other western provinces have experienced a number of serious wildfires that have caused considerable damage and losses to community infrastructure and the forest resource. There appears to be a tendency to blame this situation on global warming, which is highly subjective, however one must reflect on deeper issues.

The recent disaster in Fort McMurray is a classic example and may well foretell future occurrences of a similar nature. To date, and to my knowledge, there has been no information released regarding initial action on this incident other than it was reported at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.

To this one should offer the following observations:

1. Knowing the starting point of the incident, what control agency was responsible for initial attack?

2. What was the time interval between reporting and initial action on the incident by the responsible agency? This is critical!

3. Was the initial attack aerial or ground and, if aerial, how soon was ground action subsequently undertaken?

Efficient wildfire control is contingent on two criteria: early detection and fast initial attack. Undoubtedly there are conditions that occur where fires sustain a rapid development which will defy quick suppression action.

However, despite the massive resources and technology currently available, it is apparent that we are encountering far too many large incidents in comparison to earlier years. This must logically lead to the conclusion that there are substantial problems of a broad nature within the current wildfire control system.

This default is not apparent to the majority of the general public who are uninformed concerning effective wildfire control, but is patently evident to knowledgeable forest industry personnel.

A critical and exacting review of current wildfire control policies and procedures by an independent and objective panel is critically necessary otherwise further negative impacts to communities and our valuable forest resource will continue.

George L. Benwell

Revelstoke

B.C. Forest Ranger, 1963-1979

 

Just Posted

Clouds and rain for election day in Revelstoke

Forecast from Environment Canada: Today: Cloudy. 30 per cent chance of showers… Continue reading

Revelstoke takes the plunge to support the Special Olympics

Fundraisers swam in Williamson Lake on Oct. 20

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Oct. 17

Items from Revelstoke newspapers, as gleaned and edited by Cathy English, curator… Continue reading

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Hergott: Driving and talking to a passenger

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about distracted driving with passengers

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Summerland man celebrates 100th birthday

Bill Kenzle credits positive attitude as secret to a long life

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Halloween musical creeps onto the Summerland Community Arts Centre stage

Tracy Fehr and the Voice Studio Singers perform on Oct. 25.

Vernon player wins ATP tour event, named to Davis Cup squad

Vasek Pospisil joins Raonic, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime in representing Canada

Most Read