By Robert Gray
The area burned by wildfires this summer in B.C. is enormous by any measure. Over 1.2 million hectares as of Aug. 22, and there are still several weeks of fire season remaining. This wildfire season adds to an ever-increasing area burned over the past decade. Will we ever see an end to summers with this much area on fire? According to climate scientists, not likely. Climate predictions include longer fire seasons, more significant droughts (meaning more dead trees and more fuel for fires), more fire starts, and larger and more severe fires.
A reasonable question is whether or not at some point will enough burned area actually start to impede fire activity? The answer depends on future climate and what we as society do with regard to vegetation and dead fuels. There is not much we can do about the climate predictions — unfortunately, we’re locked into this climate pattern for the foreseeable future. The only place we can make a difference is with what is available to burn when fire returns the next time.