The province of British Columbia is divided into a number of different eco provinces, which are used by governmental agencies to classify land (Demarchi, 2011). The southern interior mountains is the eco province which is chosen for this study (Figure 1). It covers an area of 56,466 km2 and was recently affected by wildfires in the 2017 season (BC Wildfire Service, 2018). In the Kamloops fire centre region (which covers the majority of the eco province), there was a reported 216,382 ha of burned area in 2017 alone (BC Wildfire Service, 2018). In 2017, the entire province of British Columbia had experienced a record season in wildfires, with the provincial government declaring a provincial state of emergency for over two months during the summer (The Canadian Press, 2017). To further add to the risk of wildfire in the area, the southern interior ecoprovince has a sizeable population in conjunction with these high rates of forest fire activity (British Columbia, 2017) (Figure 1). These local aspects make this region suitable for both the susceptibility and vulnerability components of the wildfire risk model.
The Southern interior is the driest and warmest eco province in British Columbia, making it highly susceptible to wildfires in the summer months (Demarchi, 2011). The topography of the area is highly variable, with the presence of valleys and mountains (Demarchi, 2011). This region also contains high volumes of various vegetation resources, from grasslands to forests containing Douglas-fir, Subalpine-fir, Engleman spruce, and lodgepole pine (Demarchi, 2011), adding to the amount of wildfire fuel present in the area (Valdez et al., 2017).
In terms of vulnerability, the southern interior contains many of the key variables that can be considered potentially dangerous or costly if wildfires occur. It contains timber extraction lands and agricultural land uses consisting of vineyards, orchards, and forage crops (Demarchi, 2011). This area also contains many remote communities, which have been identified as vulnerable to forest fires due to issues involving their evacuation potential (Tutsch et al., 2010; Natural Resource Canada, 2016).
Figure 1. Fire events in the southern interior eco province of British Columbia (1985-2015)