U.S. Forest Service ecologist Dr. Paul Hessburg talks about the increasing number of acres burned by wildfires in the U.S. during his “Era of Megafires” presentation Wednesday. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

U.S. Forest Service ecologist Dr. Paul Hessburg talks about the increasing number of acres burned by wildfires in the U.S. during his “Era of Megafires” presentation Wednesday. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

OPINION: Smoke sparks varying reactions

As March unfolds we are seeing more and more plumes of smoke in the valley as people take advantage of the winter months to burn slash piles.

As March unfolds we are seeing more and more plumes of smoke in the valley as people take advantage of the winter months to burn slash piles.

On several afternoons this week, residents were asking on social media where the smoke was coming from, only to be reassured by someone in the know, that it was permitted burning.

Moving into spring and summer, we will all, no doubt become smoke detectors.

Every smoke sighting will be a cause of concern as we really don’t know now what the 2018 wildfire season will be like.

At this time last year, we had no idea 2017 would turn out to be a precedent-setting wildfire year.

During his “Era of Mega-fires” presentation Wednesday evening, U.S. ecologist Dr. Paul Hessburg said smoke from slash pile or prescribed burns is something we should embrace going into the future.

He said smoke from a prescribed burn is so much less than that of a wildfire and doesn’t hang thick for weeks.

This week the Williams Lake Fire Dept. informed residents that Pioneer Logging would be conducting burning of fir-beetle infested slash piles near and above the Walmart site from now through mid-April, depending on adequate snowpack levels.

The move will reduce fuel hazard and prevent the spread of fir beetle into the adjacent forested areas.

Council also approved a temporary cattle grazing permit at the end of Westridge Drive, which proponent Luigi Mandarino said is for the purpose of fire mitigation.

Once the snow begins to melt, many of us will be looking at ways to fire-smart our own properties and keeping an eye out on the horizon will no doubt come naturally to us all.

– Williams Lake Tribune

Williams Lake Tribune