So far, the pace and scale of BC’s response to a changing climate will not meet the increasing environmental and economic challenges emerging across the landscape according to a federal assessment.

British Columbia has yet to commit and coordinate enough resources to meet the risks of a changing climate according to the conclusions of a federal assessment released this month. The Changing Climate: A Regional Perspective cited last year’s heat, drought, fires, and floods as examples of the profound effect climate change is having on our landscape, our economy and well-being. 

The province’s water resources, forests, agricultural lands, ranges and communities are all at increasing risk as the climate warms. Nevertheless, our province’s climate change efforts lack the significant resources “required to create a level of action that is commensurate with the risks that British Columbia is facing.” 

On forests, in particular, the assessment noted “limited evidence of proactive adaption within the forest industry” while suggesting forest management climate adaption efforts will be limited due to the “vastness of B.C.’s forested areas.” A very large amount of forested land will have to “adapt through natural processes.” 

For those of us, who may already see the landscape as a growing threat, this may bring little comfort. Read the full report Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing Our Knowledge for Action and participate in Canada’s National Adaption Strategy go to here.

Expanding Role of BCWS Will Create Opportunities for Contractors and Workers

Notwithstanding the findings of the above regional assessment, BC has adopted the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

This framework will play a part in guiding the planning and operations of the BC Wildfire Service under its expanding mandate as an all-hazards, year-round agency. Not only will BCWS respond to emergencies such as floods and wildfires, but it will undertake work to reduce, prevent and recover from these natural disasters. 

In our forests this may mean implementing fuel reduction programs to protect communities and infrastructure as well as prescribed burning to protect plantations and reduce wildfire spread. It’s in this expanding area of natural disaster risk reduction work that forestry and wildfire contractors will be playing an increasing role said BC Wildfire Service managers in a recent meeting with contractors. 

In order to assist contractors in remaining fit to their expanding role BCWS announced it had hired consultant Roger Harris to undertake an environmental scan and make recommendations to improve the current service procurement process, standards framework and performance assessment methods used to qualify contractors. Harris is expected to conduct interviews with contractors and BCWS this summer and report in the fall.

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Fed Report Says B.C. Falling Short on Meeting Climate Change Challenges 

A BCWS crew igniting a prescribed burn this wet spring in the Kootenays. Much more of this kind of forest management activity is expected in order to meet the challenges of climate change. Photo credit B. Stevens

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We need to keep workers like these busy. A forest fuels management crew at work on a wildfire community protection project in the West Kootenay this week. 

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