There are definite signs summer’s on its way. The first tour buses of the season pulled up to the museum last week. People are making camping plans for the Victoria Day holiday weekend. The Beautification Committee is planting flowers downtown. And the thrum-thrum-thrum sound of helicopters is again heard overhead, which means another forest fire season is underway.
Our wet, spring has suddenly given way to hot, dry temperatures and the dreaded 30-30 fire threat combination – more than 30 degrees temperature and less than 30 per cent humidity.
It’s upsetting to learn that all of the forest fires to date this year in the Kamloops Fire Centre area are human-caused. How many watersheds have to be destroyed, how many hectares of timber have to be consumed, how many communities have to be evacuated before people learn the fundamental lessons about fire and the danger it poses? But because people will continue to make thoughtless decisions, other people have to be smart about fire protection and management.
The District of Lillooet recently completed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. It’s a sobering document, listing the most vulnerable “extreme fire threat “areas in the community, including the Airport Road and Whitney Road areas in East Lillooet, McEwen Road, Murray Park, Victoria Street, the Public Works Yard and above Columbia Street and Eagleson Crescent. If you live in those areas, you might want to read the report online on the District’s website, www.lillooetbc.ca and also pick up a copy of the Home Owners Firesmart Manual at the front desk of the municipal hall or read it online as well. Take the test to see where the dangers exist in your home and yard.
Anyone living in Lillooet in 1971 or 2004 or 2009 has witnessed the incredible destructive power of forest fires, whether they’re natural or caused by people. As citizens and property owners, we need to do what we can to protect our homes and community and to be Fire Smart when and where that opportunity is available.