Running parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic and two extreme heatwaves, the summer of 2021 included one of the worst wildfire seasons in BC’s history.
By | Jessie Woo
The summer of 2021 was plagued by unfortunate events: namely, the rising rates of COVID, multiple heatwaves, and most of all, the tremendous destruction of BC wildfires.
While the heatwaves and the COVID spike were expected but not guaranteed, the BC wildfires seem to be a recursive apocalypse that has been consistent over the past few decades.
According to the most recent statistics, more than 864,367 hectares of land in BC has been destroyed by the fires so far this year, ranking it to be the 3rd most amount of damage in the records.
Since April 1, 2021, over 1,580 wildfires have happened, which is a massive increase compared to the previous 2 years. The aftermath is unpredictably huge including, but not limited to air pollution, loss of property and resources, and massive evacuation.
For your further understanding, wildfires are typically caused by two main factors; lightning or humans. There is about a 50/50 share among the two causes according to BC wildfire statistics.
Due to multiple heatwaves over this summer, the forests becoming dryer than usual, and when lightning strikes, fire spreads at a more rapid pace. In addition, human-caused wildfires should not be underestimated.
There are numerous human activities that can trigger wildfires easily such as the burning of debris (wood for campfires), dropping burning substances, use of engines or vehicles, and many more careless incidents on the list. However, put in mind that all the human-caused wildfires can be preventable.
As another gruelling wildfire season winds down and our exhausted firefighters are ready to head home after this long battle against the flames, it is crucial for us to reflect on how to reduce human-caused wildfires in the upcoming years.
Who knows whether this annually recursive wildfire attack will escalate to another level?