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Columbia Shuswap Regional District calls for review of wildfire season

‘The impacts of the fire will be felt for decades to come’
A burned car near the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek fire hall, destroyed by the Bush Creek East wildfire. (Rebecca Willson-Salmon Arm Observer)

By Barb Brouwer


Columbia Shuswap Regional District chair Kevin Flynn followed through on a board commitment made in September by writing a letter to Premier David Eby.

At their September board meeting, directors expressed support for District of Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer’s request that the province undertake a thorough, comprehensive review of the 2023 wildfire season.

In his Sept. 19 letter to the premier, Flynn reiterated Stamer’s statement that more land, homes and infrastructure were destroyed this year than ever before and that it is critical that the province undertake a review to analyze the collective responses to learn and improve on the outcome of future wildfires.

“The Bush Creek East wildfire has been burning since July 2023 and continues to burn,” Flynn wrote. “More than 8,400 residents within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District received evacuation orders in 21 days; another 3,500 residents received evacuation alerts.”

Flynn also pointed out that at least 176 structures burned in the Bush Creek East wildfire, with an additional estimated 50 partial structure losses.

“It is a miracle there was no loss of life,” he added. “Thousands of staff, volunteer and resource hours have been logged to date, with many more hours to be worked through the recovery process. The impacts of the fire will be felt for decades to come. ”

“The Columbia Shuswap Regional District unequivocally supports the District of Barriere’s Council request to the Province of BC to commence an unbiased, transparent, and comprehensive review of the 2023 wildfire season,” he wrote, “Representation from local wildfire officials, First Nations communities, BC Wildfire Service and wildfire experts must be included to provide insight, recommendations, and share this information publicly.”

Read more: Evacuation plans to be developed for 10 Columbia-Shuswap communities

Read more: Columbia-Shuswap directors dispute responsibility for weather shelters
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