Wildfire expert shares learnings from urban-wildfire disasters

By Ruth Lloyd
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
May 25, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alan Westhaver

Community Wildfire Preparedness Roundtables around the region are hosting FireSmart presentations by Alan Westhaver MSc., a 30-year veteran of wildland fire, now a wildland-urban expert. Westhaver and his fellow fire researcher Dr. Jack Cohen, a world-renowned fire physicist with the U.S. Forest Service, recently completed a report on the Lytton Creek fire which destroyed that community in 2021 which focused on how homes ignited, and how fire then spread throughout the community. What Westhaver had to say may surprise many members of the public. “We’ve long considered this to be a wildfire control problem however, it is really a problem of so many homes and structures being so easily ignited,” he states in his presentation. Instead, he emphasized the answer to saving urban areas from these disasters will not come from more planes, helicopters or tanker trucks, but from mostly small measures property owners can take, over time, to make buildings less susceptible to igniting and burning.

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