Limiting wildfires a high priority

Cigarettes are the enemy of forests. (Photo by Black Press)

It might be time for a timeless reminder.

“Only you can prevent forest (wild) fires.”

Smokey Bear has been saying it for years, but people aren’t getting the message.

Reckless behaviour in the back country is resulting in thousands of hectares of beautiful forests being lost both here and elsewhere.

We know we’re in a critical situation with our dry weather becoming the norm so why are humans still wreaking havoc by their carelessness to make a bad situation much worse?

It’s time to wake up to the new reality and, perhaps along with that, some kind of long-term campfire ban in the late spring and summer must be imposed, for starters.

There are some great realistic-looking propane units out there to replace campfires. The ambience is nice, but do we still need to allow campfires during dry conditions when forests are at risk?

The other problem that has resulted from the hiking and outdoor recreation boom is more people are in environments where they never used to be than ever before.

From a health perspective, that’s great. But it also brings the added worry about more wildfires starting inadvertently by human behaviour.

The worst culprits are still smokers. Do not throw your butts anywhere in the woods. Bag them, put them in your pocket, but make sure to carry them out rather than potentially starting a devastating fire from a smoldering cigarette.

The consequences, as we’ve seen in recent years, can be dire with so many fires occurring near residential areas or recreational properties.

This is all not to mention the affects on animals and we wonder why we’re seeing more bears and cougars than ever before. They’re being smoked out, their habitat is being developed and they’re hungry with food in dwindling supplies.

Surely, the least we can do as humans is use our brains and think a little bit about what could happen before we act.

It’s going to take incredible precautions to make sure one part of the fire hazard equation is eliminated.

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