Dr. Kira Hoffman, a postdoctoral fellow with University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry from Smithers has teamed up with a group of authors to research wildfires in Canada.
The research found that Canada needs Indigenous-led stewardship to better manage wildfire risks and promote healthy ecosystems.
Dr. Hoffman and other authors reviewed fire management practices and recent wildfires across the Country.
Additionally, the authors are recommending the revival of cultural burning which is using fire on the landscape to achieve certain cultural objectives.
She said that we’re really good at supporting fire suppression but we have kind of neglected the need for proactive fire management.
“I think it really starts at re-examining the public perception of fire, how we implement fire on crown land and so, BC and Canada has really fallen behind in our application of controlled fire,” Dr. Hoffman said.
“It’s really an issue that’s related to Indigenous sovereignty, it’s related to food security and it’s related to a whole bunch of laws that govern fire on the land and so it highlights the need to have co-government, the co-management of broader Indigenous territories on crown land,” she said.
Dr. Hoffman added that it also talks about barriers to accessing training, barriers to being acknowledged for expertise outside of Western perspective.
She also said that the province seeing three of the worst wildfire seasons on record in the last five years made the authors realize we are in this new era of wildfire.
“If we don’t start applying controlled fire or using fire to enhance ecosystems they’re going to be destroyed and so instead of constantly using wildfire mitigation techniques they’re just only from the western perspective, why not look at these managements that have existed for thousands of years?,” Dr. Hoffman said.
She added that the barriers mentioned in the research are not the only ones that exist.