Fighting fire with fire: How fire management policies affect wildfires in Canada

These days, it’s hard not to hear about wildfires.

In the past several years, summers in Canada consist of wildfires (or “forest fires”) burning thousands of acres of land, forcing residents to evacuate, filling the air with smoke, and costing the government millions of dollars in fire management. This summer, wildfires returned once again across Canada. Despite only being halfway through this current wildfire season, B.C. has already surpassed the 10-year average in terms of the number of fires burned and the total area burned. In the small town of Lytton, B.C., a wildfire roared through the community and burned down most of the village within hours, destroying homes and uprooting lives.

How do these wildfires get started in the first place? Why have they been so destructive in recent years?

(Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash)
The sun appears a hazy orange due to the wildfire smoke in Vancouver, B.C. (photo by Julie Kit, August 2021)

Integration of Indigenous knowledge of the land is needed for forest management. Action must be taken now to prevent devastating wildfires from becoming even deadlier.

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Science & Policy Exchange

Science & Policy Exchange

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A student-run non-profit that works to foster the student voice in science policy and evidence-informed policy-making in Canada. Based in Montreal.