Local fire expert explains what B.C. can learn from how California's wildfires are spreading
'A big part of that is fuels mitigation,' said B.C. fire ecologist Bob Gray
With wildfires causing deaths and widespread evacuations across northern California, local fire ecologist Bob Gray says B.C. can learn from California's fire season.
Gray explained to On the Coast host Stephen Quinn that experts focus on three main factors that alter fire behaviour: weather, topography and fuels.
"And the only one we can control is fuels," he said.
After California's years of drought, this last spring saw unusually wet weather spurring lush vegetation growth.
However, the hot, dry summer then caused the greenery to dry out, providing ample fuel for wildfires.
Gray says that after B.C's record-breaking summer, the province needs a cooler summer next year to get ahead and focus on fire management.
"A big part of that is fuels mitigation. It's also fire-hardening our communities so that if a fire does blow into the community, it stays on the ground and it's less damaging," he said.
Gray suggests having sheep, goats and cattle grazing the peripheries of communities, therefore eliminating dry grass that could spread fires into nearby neighbourhoods.
Inside communities, Gray says the best preventable method of spreading fires is keeping lawns mowed and consistently green. However, Gray acknowledges this is a resource issue in summertime when water restriction often prevent people from easily watering their lawns.
Listen to the full On The Coast interview below: