Fire near Fraser Lake | Photo from the BC Wildfire Service Facebook Page
VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – A B.C. woman is calling for a province-wide burning ban across the province’s backcountry.
Cambria Volonte created the ‘Keep BC Green Full Back Country Fire Ban Now petition on change.org earlier this month.
“It’s our right to protect our homes, families, livelihoods, forests and environment around us,” the petition reads.
“The normal process of fire restrictions leave our communities at risk. It is not even the middle of May and we have human-caused fires causing evacuations, devastating the land and polluting our air. If you wish to share your voice and urge the government to put into effect immediately a full back country fire ban, please, please share and sign this petition.”
The petition also notes that “unsupervised campfires in our backcountry can easily spread due to dry conditions and limited resources.”
In a phone interview, Volonte shared her concerns about the wildfire risk across the province, including the Coastal Fire Centre region that encompasses Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
“I guess what I wanted to start seeing is us being proactive in our approach and trying to limit the amount of human-caused fires that have been happening in the past years,” Volonte said.
She noted that, with the amount of land that have been burned along with the communities impacted by wildfires especially since 2017, it was time to take action.
Volonte started the petition as a full fire ban but recently changed it to a backcountry fire ban.
“I know that people still like to enjoy their campfires on their properties,” she said. “I think most people are pretty careful in that sense.”
But the backcountry is vulnerable to fire because it’s not protected and it’s difficult to get resources to remote areas to battle wildfires, Volonte noted.
“Often, those are the fires that get left to burn because they’re not affecting people and unfortunately, the more fires that burn, the more carbon dioxide that’s released and methane into the atmosphere,” Volonte said.
She is hoping the petition will allow people to voice their concerns while protecting the ecosystem and environment at the same time.
Volonte said she never set a goal. But the petition has garnered 1,360 signatures as of Thursday morning.
She will be contacting BC Wildfire Services and hopes to present the petition sometime next week.
“We just can’t afford to have these ‘super fires’ and we really can’t afford to have these human-caused ones because it’s either an accident, or it’s negligence, or it’s stupidity, or it’s just people don’t care and that’s heartbreaking for our future generations and for the planet,” Volonte said.