How a B.C. plan to fight fire with fire went awry

By Jesse Winter
Globe and Mail
December 15, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In mid-August, with huge swaths of British Columbia consumed by wildfire, firefighting crews in the province’s North Shuswap region made a hard decision: They would intentionally burn a 26-square-kilometre stretch of forest hours before a major wind event, hoping to slow down the raging Lower East Adams Lake wildfire long enough to limit destruction in residential areas. Officials are now defending that move, as residents of the nearby towns of Lee Creek, Scotch Creek and Celista question whether the planned ignition exacerbated the damage in their communities, rather than lessening it. In the days after the fire, a public workers’ union demanded an investigation, arguing that firefighters’ safety had been compromised. Video and internal wildfire service incident reports obtained by The Globe and Mail show for the first time how elements of the operation went wrong on the ground, leaving a fire crew trapped for hours by flames. [A subscription to the Globe and Mail is required to read this full story]

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