BC extends state of emergency

August 9, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

WESTERN STANDARD — The BC government has extended the provincial state of emergency until 12:01 a.m. on August 18, 2021, in order to “support the ongoing co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and ensure public safety.”

At the time of the extension, which was issued late Tuesday afternoon, 254 wildfires were burning in the province with 64 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,305 properties, and 99 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 21,049 properties.

“As we have seen over the past number of weeks, the continued dry, hot weather poses a high risk for potential wildfires,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The BC government says their decision to extend the provincial state of emergency will support people who remain under evacuation orders and alerts.

“The people on the front lines of this year’s wildfire response are doing everything in their power to protect BC’s communities and keep British Columbians safe,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development.

“Let’s all show our support for them by ensuring that our activities don’t spark any new wildfires.”

While those on the front lines are undoubtedly doing all in their power to quell the spread of wildfire, some suggest that those tasked with managing BC’s forests are not, and would argue the province’s forest management system is a contributing factor to the proliferation of wildfires.

As part of the province’s reforestation program, thousands of hectares of forest are sprayed with glyphosate every year. Glyphosate – found in Monsanto’s Roundup – is a popular herbicide used to kill certain plants and grasses.

Among the growth that glyphosate kills are aspen and birch, both of which are competitors to the province’s replanted conifers – which is why they are targeted. It is an effective way for the forest industry to ensure cut blocks contain the most profitable trees.

Another means of achieving the same goal is “brushing.” Brushing is where brush saws are run in order to chop down the deciduous growth, or a girdling knife is used to cut the circumference of the base of an aspen, which kills it.

The problem, according to some, is that this system also provides fertile ground for the growth of wildfire.

“It’s not just the glyphosate. It’s the whole plantation forestry concept,” said James Steidle, in an interview with the Western Standard

Steidle spearheads an organization called Stop the Spray BC.

“A lot of these places that are burning, like in the Okanagan, they weren’t sprayed with glyphosate, but they were brushed. We went into these places and cut down all the fire-resistant deciduous… so we increased the volatility of the burn in these areas,” said Steidle.

“It is an established scientific fact that if you have more aspen on your landscape, the probability of wildfire will decrease. That’s fact number one. It’s undeniable. None of these guys in forestry can deny that.

“Fact number two is we have a reforestation strategy that specifically targets deciduous species for removal and eradication. If you put these two facts together, a logical conclusion can be made that we are making the probability of wildfire worse.

“The reason we allow the amount of logging that we do is because we have these models… these fairy tales of how fast the forests are going to re-grow. It’s all an accounting scheme, and if you allow the deciduous to grow, that’s going to f*ck up the whole model.

“There is something called TIPSY, and it calculates how much timber the land base is producing.”

TIPSY stands for Table Interpolation Program for Stand Yields.

“The assumption of that model (TIPSY) is that you get rid of all the deciduous and have 100% survival. It’s not factoring in any of these forest fires, that’s for sure,” said Steidle.

“They don’t want to talk about this topic because to address it would be to expose the whole fraud of the forest management system, and these fire experts won’t mention it either.

When it comes to combating BC’s wildfires, the gaze of Premier John Horgan and his government is fixed on anthropogenic climate change, often regurgitating the over-simplified talking points of Justin Trudeau, say critics.

“We are in a changing environment and climate change is affecting all of our lives,” said Horgan at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We need to amend how we behave. The Prime Minister and I talked about this at some length today.

“Do we need to make changes in British Columbia? Yes, we do. We’ve been doing that through our Clean BC plan.”

 

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