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B.C. wildfire project tells communities how to protect and prepare

University of Victoria files first report under the POLIS Wildfire Resilience Project
A new project at UVic released their first publication which lays out priorities that can be acted on right away to help manage wildfires. (Courtesy UVic)

The University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies launched a new initiative called the POLIS Wildfire Resilience Project with the goal to create a more secure future for communities and ecosystems that are threatened by wildfires.

The project kicked off with its first publication called Learning to Live with Fire: State of Wildfire in B.C.—Policy, Programs & Priorities, which recommends a resilient approach as priorities to address the emerging wildfire reality.

“Our analysis revealed a number of actions that don’t require further study that can be initiated and expanded on right now,” said co-author and analyst at the POLIS Wildfire Resilience Project Andrea Barnett in a news release. “But it also revealed the need for a cross-cutting approach to address the wildfire challenge. The provincial government, Indigenous governments, federal and local governments, industry, researchers, and civil society are all integral to overall success.”

The report found four actions that can be acted upon immediately: increasing the scale of current programs for fuel management, harnessing the forest industry’s harvesting power to reduce fuels on the landscape, promoting innovative, low-cost fuel management treatments and expanding local wildfire governance initiatives.

The authors of the report focused on understanding the current policy and governance landscape in B.C. as it relates to wildfire.

They explored the new wildfire reality, highlighted implications for communities and ecosystems, and detailed current approaches to wildland fire management by taking a deep dive into governance, legislation, policies, and science.

“Another important finding is the need for a whole-of-government provincial landscape resilience strategy,” noted senior analyst Doug Donaldson in the release. “Such a strategy will help the provincial government better address the new wildfire reality, including the immediate challenges, identifying the leadership needed, and bringing broader changes to ensure wildfire resilience across B.C. It will be an important first step towards a ‘whole-of-society’ approach.”

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