Wild Fires Thirteen Times Worse Than Ten Year Average

Deepest Sympathy and Concern for Residents and Firefighters of Northwest Territories and the BC Interior

Fighting wildland fires near Nadina Lake BC. 

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) expresses its support and profound sympathies for the residents of Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, the K'atl’odeeche First Nation, Salt River First Nation and other communities in the Northwest Territories, and the people of Kelowna and BC communities, who have had to evacuate and are suffering the loss of their homes and entire possessions due to the extensive fires which are said to be "out of control." CPC(M-L) sends its deepest sympathies to the families, friends, co-workers and loved-ones of the four firefighters who have lost their lives fighting the devastating wildland fires.

Wildland firefighters in Northwest Territories.

We also express concern for the Indigenous communities where chiefs and residents have informed they are being left to fend for themselves. The Indigenous Peoples have lived with fire since time immemorial and they know how to keep fires under control but their knowledge is ignored and, too often, cultural practices which protect their communities are declared illegal and criminalized. They are not only criminalized for cultural practices which protected their communities but suffer the consequences of socially irresponsible economic use of the land and the forests which create conditions which exacerbate the problems when fires ignite.

We pay our respects to the firefighters who have poured in to help from across the country as well as many other countries. The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System informs that the destruction from these fires up to this point in the season has been 13 times worse than the 10-year average. A wildland fire research officer with the Canadian Forest Service informed the media that Canada is currently at "national preparedness level 5," meaning Canada has fully committed all its national resources to mobilize the fight against the fires. Canadian firefighters have been joined by about 5,000 firefighters from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, and the United States.

The people of all these areas show their mettle when they come together to offer each other whatever assistance they can. But this does not condone the inaction of governments to deal with the climate crisis which is exacerbating the destructive effects of the reckless practices of the forest and other monopolies, compounded by the anti-social offensive and cuts to wildland fire services, creating conditions which are said to be out of control.

Human beings organized by a modern state are quite capable of humanizing the social and natural environment. They can get rid of the polluters and those who are diverting public funds into war spending and pay-the-rich schemes and putting environmental standards and regulations into the hands of narrow private interests. They can end the criminalization of those who oppose the despoliation of the environment, plunder of our natural resources and refusal to protect the populations concerned.

Wildland firefighters and their unions, scientists and researchers together with Indigenous and other communities in the forest are advocating for many immediate measures to better protect communities, provide what the firefighters and the Indigenous firekeepers need to do this work. This issue of Workers' Forum is dedicated to their efforts.

This article was published in
Number 46 - August 23, 2023

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