EDITORIAL: Take wildfire risk seriously

it’s time for all North Okanagan communities to look at the timber aroundthem and take action

The North Okanagan is covered in forest, and it’s a natural asset we all treasure.

The woods not only provide a source of employment for hundreds of families, but recreational opportunities abound for all ofus.

However, all of those benefits also generate considerable risks.

Just look back to last summer when a wildfire roared near Predator Ridge and an Okanagan Landing subdivision. We allremember the devastation caused over the years in Kelowna, Fintry, Falkland and Rock Creek.

That’s why the actions being taken in Lumby and Coldstream are extremely positive.

Both communities are seeking provincial government grants to manage the forest fuels and reduce the fire threat.

In Coldstream, funding is being sought for the Red Gate/Kal Park main entrance along Kidston Road first, followed by one forWhisper Ridge.

In the case of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, a fire there could force adjacent residents to evacuate.

“There’s only one road out. About seven or eight years ago there it was touch and go,” said Coun. Gyula Kiss.

Yes these programs will see some trees removed, but it’s a necessary sacrifice given the risk, particularly from unhealthytrees. Also, such efforts allow natural habitat, such as the grasslands to flourish and that is good for wildlife.

Coldstream and Lumby are taking the lead but it’s time for all North Okanagan communities to look at the timber around them and take action.