Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
11 January 2019
Volume 19 Issue 1
Warning:No emojis have been used in the presentation of any facts in this edition.
Finally, the Complete, Revised, Full, Typo-Free, Total
WFCA 2019 Annual Conference Program
(and now finally register if you haven’t already.)
We know, we know. Our faithful readers are beginning to wonder if all we can draw from our editorial well lately are conference-related announcements. Nevertheless, we must persist one last time to say we are very pleased to have George Abbott as our keynote speaker at the conference evening banquet Thursday January 31st. The last time Mr. Abbott spoke to us he was, in his own words, a “recovering politician” having left B.C. politics. But politics haven’t left him, and he has lately been involved in two major initiatives including our B.C. government’s competitiveness review of contract logging and a Provincial report on our recent floods and fires which he co-authored. These two undertakings are relevant to both business and policy for those of us in the forestry/silviculture sector. We are looking forward to his comments. We also want to fill in one other remaining blank in our program to say Russel Robertson, just retired from a key position at BC Forest Safety, will facilitate a workshop on wildland fire suppression training. This may seem like a limited scope session, but it comes at a time when the private suppression service providers and the licensee community are seen as playing important parts in supporting our BC Wildfire Service. Making sure everyone knows what they are doing at the business end of hoses and pulaskis will be important as we try to keep up with natural disasters. In this context what would a more systems-based approach look like for training and certification? Of course, mentioning these two examples is not meant to distract from the whole outstanding three-day program which you can see here.
When Houses Burning Trees Might be the Key to Avoiding Future WUI Disasters
This is truly an awful picture. When we first looked at it, it struck us an image from science fiction, or a close-up of some fiery organic membrane. But it’s the cellular, almost organic pattern you get when human settlement—in this case Paradise, California as seen from a satellite—grows into a fire-maintained forest ecosystem and that landscape burns. Although that’s not exactly right. In Paradise mostly what burned were buildings. A closer resolution of this image would show many trees free of flames and surviving. The fire is being carried by the settlement’s structures. The trees at this point are almost bystanders to the catastrophe. That apparently perverse inversion of circumstances may only add to the end-times imagery of the photo. But we can overturn that idea on its head by saying the hopelessness of this picture is actually key to where there is hope. If people’s homes are the actual fuel feeding this fire, what would have happened if they had been less flammable? And we know the answer to that question. Fire hardening buildings to resist ignition, lifting crowns in the adjacent forests, managing flashy fuels, cleaning around buildings all lead to shorter flame lengths, less heat, fewer flying embers and a better chance of survival. It is difficult to do clinical trials to prove this for obvious reasons. But experience is showing that neighbourhoods that take the steps to manage their buildings, including their roofs, porches and soffits along with the grounds 10 meters around them, are less vulnerable to rampant destruction by wildfire. We have seen cases where flames backed by winds similar to Paradise have not taken hold, sparing homes in communities that were fire prepared. What happened in Paradise (and others) was terrible. But there are ways for us to prepare and adapt to the threat of more frequent, severe and intense wildfires.
Finally; Remembering Angelo Iacobucci
We would like to remember Angelo Iacobucci who passed away suddenly last month. Angelo was a veteran radio news reporter with forty years on the airwaves in Kamloops. That in itself made him special, if not a rare thing, these days in rural news reporting. He was also a regular reader of the RoundUpDate and frequently mined our editions and did follow up interviews. As a result Radio NL listeners were well informed on reforestation matters and probably somewhat unique in the province in that regard. So was Angelo with this great radio pipes and his preemptory style of interviewing people, which has hardly deferential, even overly familiar, and intolerant of evasive, ambiguous answers. He had an angle and he was determined to get it. We will miss him. Others who may not have heard, or heard of him will miss him too. Because with Angelo gone so goes an important local news voice diminishing reporting and coverage for British Columbia as a whole. He was 60 years old.