Re: “Alberta wildfire could last months,” May 8.
A publication called Firesmart: Protecting your Community from Wildfire was produced in 2003 by the Alberta Forest Service, written in conjunction with the best specialists in Canada. It describes how hazard assessment, fire suppression training, policy planning and getting all levels of government together was done. Copies were sent to all provinces
The Yukon Forest Service a few years earlier put out a similar book called Guidelines for Settlement Protection. Again, copies were sent to all provinces.
A year or two passed and bad fires happened across Canada, but the warnings about wildfires were ignored.
The Food and Agricultural Organization became involved and published a flood of technical articles by the best North American professionals in a magazine called Forest Fire News. Again, copies were sent to all governments concerned about forest fires, but no one today seems to remember that it ever existed.
A real sore point to me is that town planners and municipal planners have not learned to consider incoming fire as a great threat to towns and settlements. But the worst of all are the politicians. As soon as the fires are out and they hear that millions of dollars are involved in preventive action, they might be quick to forget that there ever occurred a disaster like Fort McMurray and maybe only a pittance of funding is approved. I don’t know how to fix that.
Retired superintendent Yukon Forest Service