Fire and water

A steady mix of rain and grey skies throughout the months of May and June has brought to mind a slightly revised line from Shakespeare.

A steady mix of rain and grey skies throughout the months of May and June has brought to mind a slightly revised line from Shakespeare.

Oh Summer, Where Art Thou?

But this less than glorious made summer also offers its advantages. For one, it lowers the risk of a drought, filling up local reservoirs. As a corollary, the low temperatures and wet skies have reduced the fire hazard throughout the region, a welcome development in light of recent years during which we have witnessed first-hand the full ferocious fury of flames, whether humans had sparked them or otherwise.

But this condition remains conditional. While it might be easy to forget the summer days in 2003 when biting smoke filled the air of the South Okanagan, their absence depends in large part on our ability to apply common sense.

No one needs to be told that a temporary moment of carelessness can cause untold, not to mention costly, devastation. Yet officials are somehow forced every year to remind the public that they need to be mindful.

Granted, the message has started to sink in. But we are fearful the dreary weeks of summer will breed complacency during what should be a time of vigilance. Conditions may change in the coming weeks as we enter the bulk of the summer season.

The danger has certainly not passed and unless we accept this reality, we  might have to deal with the aftermath of a preventable catastrophe.

Yes, some things remain outside our control. But we can lower the likelihood of disaster by following public advisories about fire bans in the backwoods and taking more permanent steps to mitgage long-term fire threats.

If we do not, this may yet be our summer of discontent.