Dozens of people attended a community forum hosted by UBC Okanagan at Kelowna’s library on Tuesday night.
A panel of experts weighed in on the need for better forest management in order to combat flooding and wildfires.
“A big point of this is to get people’s minds on this so they can talk to their local government or their local member of parliament to say, ‘I’m concerned about this’,” UBC Okanagan assistant professor Mathieu Bourbonnais said.
“We need to start working together to come up with solutions.”
“Forestry is part of the solution. Industry is part of the solution. It’s governments, it’s industry, it’s communities, it’s First Nations working together to come up with strategies to help create more resilient ecosystems and more resilient communities,” he added.
The panel discussed how in an era of larger and more destructive wildfires and devastating flooding, it’s especially important to pay attention to how communities are affecting the environment around them.
Dozens of people turned up to the forum, which also talked about balancing the economic, ecological and cultural values of forests.
“So something that came up tonight is this idea of the community understanding, that if we don’t want summer fires, if we want to get ahead of these wildfires that we’re seeing, is there a way that we could better manage our forests, such as controlled burns in the fall?” Okanagan Basin Water Board spokesperson Corinne Jackson said.
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“And yes there would be smoky skies, but it would be to a lesser extent, and we could be potentially better managing our forests. By doing that you’re also protecting our waters and ensuring a healthier water supply.”