Towns and cities can’t be made fireproof but definitely can be made more robust.

British Columbia
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As of Thursday, more than 200 active wildfires were raging throughout British Columbia, with the vast majority consuming large swathes of land in the province’s interior. They are among the 786 that have devoured almost 1,000 square kilometers of land this year alone, more than three times the 10-year norm at this time of year.

The already disastrous fire season prompts the question, “Is there any possibility for us to fireproof towns and cities on the border of nature?” Not quite, according to Kelly Johnston, technical adviser at FireSmart Canada, a national initiative that assists communities in adapting to fire and reducing their wildfire risk. We may, however, strengthen them.

“In most situations, wildfire will be a natural event that communities all over Canada will have to deal with,” he added. “It’s about learning how to be resilient and flexible to the specific circumstances [groups] are in.”

In some situations, this begins by keeping a careful eye on the wildland-urban interface. It’s where fire may go-between and between nature and human activity, such as a town bordered by dense forest.

When a fire moves from the forest to town or vice versa, it may be deadly and inflict massive economic and structural damage. For example, the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire burned approximately 500,000 hectares and destroyed 2,400 buildings. It is still the biggest insured loss in Canadian history.