Forest fires seem to be getting worse in BC. In fact this has been known for many years. Climate change brings warmer temperatures and less rain/snow, increasing urban sprawl into forested areas and more importantly a larger degree of uncertainty. Look at the budget in BC and you will be surprised to see the Liberals were hoping this year would see climate change reverse itself.
The budget projected that fighting forest fires in BC would amount to about 52 million. That is 10 million less than the year before. As we all know, that is likely going to be less than ten percent of the money actually spent in this budget year.
see performance plan (page 12) for the Forest Service...
The following strategies are intended to address key Ministry priorities over the next three years:
1. Anticipate and manage impacts on forest and range resources from pests and fire.
2. Manage and mitigate the resource impacts from the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
3. Utilise cross agency collaboration and alignment on First Nations relationships, land use, and research and resource management.
4. Adapt British Columbia’s forest and range management practices
Some folks have been suggesting that the high priced help we have hired, ie all those civil servants at the top making two or three hundred thousand and some make much more than that, should have seen this was a mistake to allot only 52 million to fire fighting. My guess is that they did raise this with those making up the budget. The budget as it was, was going to come in at almost 500 million in the hole. If they allotted a reasonable number to fighting forest fires, like say 300 million, then where would they be with the deficit? It would be much closer to a billion dollars, not the more palatable number of 5 million short of a half billion.
The whole Liberal mantra is based on their perceived ability to manage our money. They had to mislead us in order to assure us they could and do better than the free spending reckless New Democrats.
Just for the record, The Liberals in BC have now had the three largest deficits in BC history and are headed to gain the top five places before they are done.
On a final note, as a former employee of the BC Forest Service and a fire fighter I do know how good they are at fighting fires. Initial attack and early detection have been areas BC has excelled at. This post in no way should be read as slagging the workers in the Ministry, who by in large are very dedicated to protecting and managing our Forest and Range resources.
see more here on the overall budget fiasco