An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
OVERLANDERS DAY was supposed to draw thousands to McDonald Park on Sunday but it was cancelled at the last moment due to wildfire smoke. It’s a bummer but it was the responsible thing to do.
It’s not the first event to fall victim to the wildfires. Last year, for example, the annual Kamloops Marathon was called off.
Festivals and summer sports events last year and this year have taken a kicking throughout the province and south of the border. During the past few days, several airline flights were cancelled, too.
This is, according to many, the new normal and we should just get used to it. Even a report commissioned by the provincial government on the 2017 wildfire season was titled “Addressing the New Normal.”
If we accept this “new normal” mantra, we’re saying that summer after summer will be marked with massive wildfires, that even if they don’t burn where we live, the smoke will get us.
Mornings and afternoons will feel and look like the moors in the Hound of the Baskervilles as the sun is blocked by a mass of particulates. N95 masks will be the order of the day, every day.
I have a different opinion. Accepting “the new normal” is giving up. It means we’ve thrown in the towel on climate change, on better wildfire control, and that all our summers from here on in will be the same.
With that kind of thinking, we may as well shut down the province every July and August, bolt our doors and stay inside.
But as this fire season was getting underway, I listened to a senior wildfire official who rejected the new-normal scenario. Yes, he said, there will be times when we have two or three bad years in a row, but this is not the way it will always be.
Next year might be entirely different, with clear skies, clean air and everything in balance, especially if we help make it that way. I’m holding on to that.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.