Prince George firefighter Darcy Colbert takes a break during forest fire battles around Williams Lake, July 2017. (Scott Nelson)

B.C. VIEWS: Fanning fear of fire and flood

Here’s real evidence for our record wildfire season

Professional doom-mongers see a great opportunity in this season of B.C. wildfires and the belated return of U.S. hurricanes, which have been widely asserted to be caused by “climate change,” as the United Nations narrowly defines it.

Desperate, declining news media cranked up the hype, sending reporters out to stand in howling winds, shouting like fools and demonstrating exactly what authorities warn people not to do.

“Hurricane Irma smashed into Southern Florida as a Category 4 storm, marking the first time since 1964 that the U.S. was hit by back-to-back major hurricanes,” shrieked Bloomberg News. The unusual 12-year lull with zero hurricanes after Katrina in 2005 was not mentioned.

“After thousands of years with a relatively stable climate, it is now in our hands, at this moment in time, as to whether or not we can stabilize the climate,” intoned Jens Wieting, forest and climate fundraiser for Sierra Club B.C., in a statement false from start to finish.

Now let’s examine what the world authorities on climate change, the organizations driving the UN effort to establish a global carbon reduction program, are really saying.

Here’s what The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration actually says:

“It is premature to conclude that human activities – and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming – have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.”

And here’s what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change actually says:

“There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency at regional scales because the available instrument records of floods at gauge stations are limited in space and time, and because of confounding effects of changes in land use and engineering.

“Furthermore, there is low agreement in this evidence, and overall low confidence at the global scale regarding even the sign of these changes.”

Hurricanes battered the Atlantic coast long before our industrial revolution, so it is simply not credible to suggest that they can be significantly reduced by curbing human carbon emissions. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 killed 8,000 people, eight years before Ford Model T production began.

Regarding fires, the most important news story I saw this summer was by Max Winkelman of the 100 Mile House Free Press, one of our Cariboo publications where staff carried on reporting directly from B.C. Wildfire Service field camps through evacuations, smoke and the fog of city media nonsense.

It reports on a UBC study of ancient Douglas fir trees in the Alex Fraser Research Forest near 150 Mile House. Scars on these trees record surface fires at an average interval of 15 years, from 1619 until 1943, when wartime technology for fire suppression put a sudden stop to them to protect timber.

Researchers found a shift to denser forests, closer to communities, with a massive increase in fuel load.

Why did B.C. record the largest area burned since wildfire records were kept starting in 1950? This is why. And fuel management, not carbon tax posturing or overcooked climate models, should be the B.C. government’s focus.

For the record: In a recent column I questioned the wisdom of Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson putting on the red uniform of the B.C. Wildfire Service to mug for pictures during a summer tour of affected areas.

Farnworth advises me they were given uniforms to wear in affected zones because they are fire resistant, and that Donaldson earned the uniform some years ago, serving with a helicopter-borne wildfire crew.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturebc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Third time lucky for Freedom Mobile cell tower in Sooke

Council approves tower after cell provider applies multiple times

T’Sou-ke First Nation mired in legal woes over gas station development

Claims and counterclaims leave sub-contractors unpaid

Victoria International Airport named one of the best employers in B.C.

Cited reasons include its training programs and tuition subsidies

Thief robs Saanich liquor store at gunpoint, takes cash register

Police ask for public’s help with ongoing investigation

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea

Dead Boats society inching towards 89 wrecks pulled from Capital Regional waters

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

Most Read