***As an avid fly fisher, I appreciate and enjoy the outdoors. This spring’s record-setting temperatures in many parts of Canada have triggered terrible forest fires. Seeing what is currently going on in the provinces of BC, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia led to this “Stream of Thought” concerning how Asset Management can help protect you against forest fires, respond effectively during, and recover faster after. ***

First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to the thousands of displaced people and communities who have been affected. It’s hot and dry and we continue to experience record-high temperatures in many parts of Western Canada.

A few years back, my town of 12,000 people was evacuated. I know what this is like. Seeing on the news what is happening in many Canadian provinces and living with the smoke in my own town, I started to wonder how Asset Management (AM) practices and digital solutions can help protect against these and other natural disasters.

As with everything, the answer lies in current and historical data, and AM provides us with that data.

What is Asset Management?

AM is a program or process that cost-effectively helps a company manage, maintain, and monitor its critical assets… people as well as things. AM provides instant access to data regarding the status of each and every asset and the information needed to problem-solve if an issue arises.

I consider the forests one of the planet’s most essential and valuable assets. Forests offer valuable resources, such as timber, medicinal plants, and food. Thousands of everyday products are built out of wood, from baseball bats to lumber to build our houses. The forest provides many jobs. In my youth, I worked on towboats hauling fuel and equipment to logging camps, heli logging outfits, and communities up and down the BC coast. I have a huge respect for our forests.

My passion for chasing Skeena River steelhead would not be possible without our forests. They play an irreplaceable role in maintaining ecological balance and sustaining biodiversity. Forests provide habitat for countless species, serving as homes for animals, birds, and insects.  They act as natural reservoirs, preserving water resources and preventing soil erosion. Trees, through the process of photosynthesis, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, combating climate change and ensuring the air we breathe remains clean.

Protecting and restoring forests is not just an environmental responsibility but an imperative for our planet’s and future generations’ survival. So yes, a forest is an asset that we definitely need to manage correctly, and my other passion, AM, can play a vitally important role in doing that.

Asset Management: Before a Forest Fire

Forest fire prevention requires a comprehensive approach that incorporates community preparation and digital solutions. Communities must develop emergency plans, raise awareness, and establish effective communication systems. Creating defensible space and conducting regular drills are crucial for individual and community safety.

Meanwhile, digital solutions such as fire mapping, early warning systems, communication platforms, and data analytics enhance preparedness, response, and management.

Firefighting agencies should also incorporate AM practices into their preventative programs, including resource inventory, maintenance, training, and collaboration. AM helps identify high-risk areas, assess vulnerability, and determine the best responses to protect assets, whether it is the forest itself or your community structures, livestock, and people’s very lives.

By implementing these strategies and leveraging technological advancements, communities and firefighting agencies can better protect against forest fires and safeguard lives and the ecosystems the planet desperately needs.

Asset Management: During a Forest Fire

The best planning in the world cannot protect against the unexpected. However, knowing current weather patterns, forest fuel, possible fire corridors, and exactly where your equipment and people are located will help you make the best decisions to protect against an advancing fire.

All worksites have emergency response tools, but also implementing good AM practices can significantly contribute to your preparedness and response efforts. This includes resource inventory and tracking to maintain an accurate record of emergency equipment, personnel, and availability, enabling a faster and more targeted response. Regular maintenance and inspection schedules ensure that equipment is in optimal working condition, minimizing the risk of failure when needed.

One of the most important benefits of your AM system is that it can quickly determine who is at risk so that evacuation plans can be implemented. But it can also help you get back to business faster after a fire by helping you understand the potential impact on assets. This knowledge will allow you to put a plan in place to ensure you can return to business as usual as quickly as possible.

Asset Management: After a Forest Fire

After a fire, immediate and long-term actions are essential for effective recovery. Your AM system will provide invaluable data to help with your recovery and to learn from the disaster so you can better prepare for a future event.

It will help you ensure the safety of individuals and property, assess potential risks that remain and determine any additional assistance you may require.

It can also play a role in post-fire restoration efforts, including erosion control, reforestation, habitat restoration, and assessing the impact on wildlife.

While your AM system is invaluable, it is important that you also collaborate with experts to develop strategies for preventing future fires, such as fuel reduction and firebreak maintenance.

Ultimately, a comprehensive approach combining AM solutions, ecological restoration, community involvement, and preventive measures is key to the successful recovery and future protection of our forests, as well as your assets.

***

As I write this, the fires in BC, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Quebec continue to rage, and air quality is very poor… and it is only June with a long hot summer in the forecast. I hope this article provides some ideas about how best to protect your family, your community, your businesses, and your livelihood from forest fires.

For more information about how to protect against these and future fires, please visit the BC, Alberta, Quebec, or Nova Scotia websites.

Stay safe, friends.

 

***

Stay up to date on all the news at Genesis QMS. CLICK HERE to follow us on LinkedIn.