The BC government is urging people to stay out of the interior of the province where wildfires are having a devastating effect on the people who live there.
And although this government hasn’t always done a terrific job in communicating with the public, this is one time that the gov’t has it dead right: If you don’t have to be in the interior and you don’t have an urgent need to drive through there, stay the hell out of there.
Most obviously, if you travel into the interior on non-essential business, you become, in the vernacular, part of the problem.
You not only interfere with the fire-fighters who are doing such yeomen service to keep as much of a lid on the fires as they can mange to do, but you are also adding to the potential hardships and dangers for the citizens who are already living through this devastation because any added burden – shopping, driving, needing medical care, and thousands of other ways – that you bring with you only makes it harder for those people to manage.
But if you need a totally selfish reason to avoid driving through wildfire country – and alas, many people only respond to selfish motivation – here’s something that should make you very hesitant about going into those areas.
A just-published study has concluded that the bad wildfire season of 2020 in the US led to thousands of excess cases of COVID-19 and thousands of extra deaths from COVID-19 in the areas that were affected, an effect that the wildfires had for more than 4 weeks after they were controlled.
And this year’s wildfires are of course significantly worse here in BC than they were last year.
So I repeat: Stay the hell out of wildfire country both for the people who live there and for yourself.