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

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

Robbie Kelm edged out Dr. Lloyd Westby to take the Great Ogopogo Bathtub race title

Okanagan team bows out early at B.C. baseball championships

The SOMBA Tigers U18 AAA squad lost its first two games at the provincials

Laugh out loud Okanagan theatre group production

The St. Andrew’s Players production of Drinking Habits hits the stage Aug. 23 for nine shows

Osoyoos woman who threatened mom and baby with butcher knife sentenced

Sharon Constance Forner pleaded guilty to one criminal charge and was sentenced

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Auntie Says: A different spin on to the bullying problem

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Good morning bats! Salmon Arm office receives surprise visit by winged critters

Pair of bats found huddled together on wall in the sun outside downtown office

Most Read