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Columbia-Shuswap officials call for review of B.C.’s wildfire response

The CSRD supported the Mayor of Barriere’s call on the provincial government
Burned vehicles are seen at a property destroyed by the Bush Creek East wildfire at Scotch Creek on Wednesday, Sept. 6. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board has joined the District of Barriere in calling on the B.C. government to conduct a review of this year’s wildfire response.

In an Aug. 28 letter addressed to B.C. Premiere David Eby, Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer says it’s important the B.C. government “recognize its responsibility in analyzing each fire and their respective crew responses in order to learn and be able to improve future wildfire outcomes,” adding proper analysis requires “protection and retention of all information, data and correspondence” regarding each wildfire to and from the BC Wildfire Service.

Stamer urged the review begin immediately and its results be made public before the 2024 wildfire season begins.

In response to the letter, included in the CSRD board’s Sept. 14 meeting agenda, board chair Kevin Flynn said he thought this was the right way to go.

“Just a little context, (Stamer) lives on the west side of Barriere Lake… he watched those two fires start and reported them and watched them perhaps not get touched the way he felt they should,” said Flynn. “He’s got a forestry background and he feels that the previous study after the White Rock Lake Fire wasn’t done properly.”

The board voted unanimously in favour of supporting Stamer’s call for a review.

“I don’t know if you can ask for more. It seems like Mayor Stamer’s got it pretty well covered,” commented Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) director Jay Simpson. “It’s brilliant, we need it and certainly I’m very much in favour.”

Electoral Area A (Rural Golden) director Karen Cathcart noted the 2023 wildfire season/response has been a huge topic with the Southern Interior Local Government Association, and the same is expected for the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Sept. 18-22 in Vancouver.

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