Charlie Brown once included crackling fires on a list of three things people like to stare at. Which is one reason the media spend so much time and effort covering the province's forest fires. But with Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell worried the coming fire season could be just as catastrophic as the last, I can't help but wish British Columbians paid just as much attention to what the Campbell administration is or isn't doing to prevent those blazes.
For example, last week I found out the government only has a rough, six-year-old estimate of what it would cost to clear or thin all of the wooded areas in British Columbia that, if left alone, could increase the chances or severity of a wildfire. Minister Bell has said the money needed to prepare a more accurate estimate would be better spent on actually doing that fuel treatment work. And he might be right. But, to my way of thinking, that doesn't seem like a prudent policy.
Unfortunately, policies aren't nearly as sexy as the wildfire porn that gets broadcast on the nightly news. Which means, in the coming years, we may have a lot more crackling fires to stare out over dinner.