Canada: B.C. unprepared, under-resourced for wildfire and flood threat, review finds
By David P. Ball, Jesse Winter, Jeremy Nuttall, Ainslie Cruickshank
VANCOUVER—Disasters such as last summer’s wildfires, floods, lightning storms and landslides are “the new normal” consequences of climate change and British Columbia is ill-equipped to protect the public, according to an external review in response to last year’s floods and the wildfires that tore through the the province.
The report dropped the same day that thousands of people were ordered to evacuate from South Central B.C. due to flooding.
Former cabinet minister George Abbott, who co-authored the report containing 108 recommendations on how to prepare for future devastation, said the province would need to allow the public to join the fight in future disasters.
Abbott said the province should adopt a registration system so landowners, ranchers, First Nations and forestry contractors can be reached by emergency authorities and know what equipment and capacity they have to help on the ground.
With emergency responders “stretched well, well beyond their limits,” Abbott said it’s time to consider a return to the era before the 1970s when ranchers, forestry contractors and others on the land were directly involved in fighting wildfires.