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

Black ice warning in effect on highways around Revelstoke

Less than 5cm of snow expected in town

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Grizzlies split weekend effort against Wranglers

Revelstoke remains first in the conference with 55 points

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Palumbo nets win in KIJHL debut with Golden Rockets

Female goalie believed to be league’s first to play a full game and win

VIDEO: Mt. Begbie to feature experimental brews in new tasting room

Last year Mt. Begbie won brewery of the year at the Canadian Brewing Awards in Ottawa

Columbia Basin Trust approves $870,000 in Environment Grants

Local projects will include an environmental education initiative and a bear aware program

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

Slayer adds Penticton to North American tour

Slayer adds the South Okanagan Events Centre as a stop on their last tour

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Vancouver Canucks confirm participation in NHL Young Stars

Canucks confirmed participation, at least for this year, in the NHL Young Stars event in Penticton

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Most Read