Earlier, Public Eye reported the provincial government money that's been used to fund local wildfire protection activities has run out. The government hasn't immediately committed to continue funding those activities. But independent legislator Bill Bennett thinks the province should also make policy changes that would encourage logging contractors to remove the kind of non-merchantable timber that - if left uncleared - could increase the chances or severity of such a blaze. In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Bennett explained the government could say to contractors, "'Okay, this area of forests next to this community needs to be cleaned up. There's not a lot of merchantable timber there - certainly not enough for any reputable logger to want to go in there. But we'll give you whatever merchantable trees are there.' Right now, they don't do that. They can't do it. Their own rules prevent them from doing that.' That's the sort of out-of-the-box approach that I think would really help them and would be less money coming from the taxpayers."
December 15, 2010