UBC scientists David F. Scott (left) and Adam Wei 9 (right). Scott is an associate professor in earth, environmental and geographic sciences at UBC Okanagan and a Forest Renewal British Columbia Research chair in watershed management. Photo: UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan professor details wildfire risks

Associate professor David Scott provides details for the Okanagan’s wildfire season

Though the Okanagan’s fire danger rating is low to moderate at this point in July, wildfire season is still in full-swing.

With long-range weather forecasts predicting a drop in precipitation and a rise in temperature, a UBC Okanagan associate professor in earth, environmental and geographic sciences has detailed what the Okanagan is expecting this season.

“Simply put, the Okanagan is a semi-desert area in a rain shadow,” said associate professor David Scott.

“Because of this lack of precipitation, we are vulnerable to fire because we are dry, and also because we have built up fuel loads by decades of fire suppression.”

READ MORE: Be prepared for smoke pollution this B.C. wildfire season

READ MORE: 435 insurance claims from Okanagan tree fruit growers so far this season

The federal government recently released a report on Canada’s changing climate that details the increased warmth in Canada’s future climate.

Scott said that that could impact Okanagan wildfire seasons in the future.

“What that means for us is that summer starts earlier, summer is longer and there’s more opportunity to dry out the environment, so the fire danger is going to be greater overall,” he said.

“That’s not to say we won’t have cooler or damp summers in between – climate is always variable – but for the big picture and the long-term situation, we’re going to be dealing with greater fire danger and nastier wildfire seasons.”

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a provincial government organization designed to prevent and mitigate the impact of wildfires. Communities are being encouraged and assisted through the programs to manage wildfire risks.

Scott said that Fire Smart, a wildfire program that has helped Okanagan homeowners, is one way to prepare for wildfire season in the Okanagan.

“It’s a program that’s full of straightforward and practical advice for homeowners on how to clean up their properties in preparation of wildfire season,” he said.

“People need to take responsibility for their land and manage their fire risk. The public shouldn’t feel like they’re helpless – there’s a lot they can do to help themselves.”

READ MORE: Bike Skills Park in Kelowna is set to reopen

Time will tell what this wildfire season will look like in the Okanagan, and predictions are hard to come by.

“We’re really waiting to see what Mother Nature will do,” said Scott.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Brian Minter to share passion for gardens and greenspaces at Salmon Arm Fair

Well-known B.C. master gardener to give presentation on Friday, Sept. 6.

Salmon Arm seniors enjoy the outdoors thanks to Rotary

Salmon Arm club fixes up and furnishes outdoor living spaces at Bastion Place

Salmon Arm Downtown Activity Centre owner wants to keep building alive

Support from community in form of tenants wanted for heritage building

Shuswap’s Rust Valley Restorers team rolling onto Netflix

Mike and Connor Hall, Avery Shoaf see television show picked up by streaming service

Grass fire breaks out on highway south of Vernon

Highway 97 traffic slowed as firefighters snuff grass fire

Drugs, cash and 11 people apprehended at Okanagan residence

RCMP executed warrant at a Vernon home for second time in a month

Wildfire sparks beside Highway 3 west of Keremeos

A wildfire on the side of Highway 3 just west of Keremeos… Continue reading

Salmon Arm’s Hideaway Beer Badgers take semifinal win over Vernon’s OKG

Final goes Saturday in Vernon versus number-one seed N.E.T.

Summerland relaunches net metering program

Event open house will be held Aug. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m in Arena Banquet Room

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Jaws of Life used to rescue driver in North Okanagan crash

Single-vehicle MVI causes traffic delays on Highway 6

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Most Read