It has been about a year since the wildfires at Skutz Falls and Lizard Lake. No responsible party[s] has been named or identified.
The response is that these fires were “human caused” and are under investigation. This is sadly the status of many fires that occurred in the 2015 fire season. When people think of human-caused fires, careless campers or cigarette smokers may come to mind. It is important to remember that wildfires are also caused by industrial and private logging operations, land clearing, arson, car crashes or any other human mischief or negligence that puts spark and fuel together.
The taxpayer pays for fighting these fires, regardless of their origins, until accountability can be achieved, which seems rare. The Martin Mars water bomber fought the Skutz Falls fire — not cheap. Hundreds of loads of water were removed from the Cowichan watershed during a stage three-four drought, this fragile ecosystem paying the environmental price. Accountability for these fires should be a priority, instead of being buried in a file somewhere at the Ministry.
People at Skutz Falls, Lake Cowichan and elsewhere feared for their homes and safety, missed work and breathed toxic air because of these events — they are not to be taken lightly, or repeated.