Weekly Fire Update

Annual Number of Fires 2009The Final 2009 Weekly Fire Situation Report (WSR) has been released. Please find attached the WSCA summary as a PDF document.

Weekly Fire Update Sept 30.pdf

There was an interesting change in the WSR. The Total Fires to Date as of Sept 2 was 221,099 ha. This week the Total Fires to Date area had declined to 210,612 ha. The discrepancy in area was for the Cariboo Fire Centre. With the Fire Season coming to an an end it is time to start asking the So What? questions about forest management:

* With over 200,000 burnt hectares, WSCA is estimating a silviculture response is needed on 105,000 ha requiring a 126-million seedling planting programme with a price-tag of about $150-million. How is the burned area distributed with respect to The Harvestable Forest Land Base (THFLB)? What steps are being taken to identify and formulate silviculture responses? When will the planning and priorization start? Are seedling orders expected for Sowing 2010 for Planting 2011?

* It is understood that in addition to damage to THFLB, that several watersheds have been damaged with resultant water quality issues arising. In addition there has been concern about siltation and other second order fire effects. What restoration and rehabilitation steps are required?

* Fire behaviour was noted as being extreme on many fires and outside of the expected fire behaviour based on the fuels inventory. How does the burned area overlap with MPB damage area and natural disturbance condition class?

* The fire behaviour needs to be field verified to better predict future fires. Will the MOF be conducting a post-fire first order effects survey? What second-order fire effects survey are being considered?

* Additional information indicates that the Start-up codes and time for the Fire Weather Index (FWI) may have been too late given thus the actual fuel moisture conditions were more severe than the FWI would have indicated. Will the MOF be re-examing the FWI parameters and management of the FWI climate station system to better address the possibility of early, intense fire behaviour?

* Interface fires are an important determiner of the direct fire fighting costs. Budgeting needs to consider the proportion of interface fires. Of the 2997 fires reported todate what are the total number of fires that are classified as interface fires? How many of these fires required Evacuation Orders? How many of these fires required Evacuation Alerts? How many people received orders and alerts.

* Damage values were reported until 1981. Since then damage costs have not been reported in either the Ministry of Forests Annual Report or, more recently the Annual Service Plan since.

Damage values are an important determiner of insurance costs. Accurate estimates of damage costs are also important in order to determine the indirect costs of fire. Damage estimates presented for BC by the Ministry of Forests to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ National Forestry Database do not appear to be consistent with actual fire year experience. Will the Ministry of Forests be presenting property loss estimates and timber destroyed estimates?

* With total greenhouse gas emissions exceeding 86-million tonnes CO2e and potentially requiring an offset of $1.2-billion for the release of these chemical, how does the Ministry of Forests propose to offset these emissions in order to meet the requirements of the Climate Action Legislation to be carbon neutral by 2010?