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Shuswap MLA speaks up for North Shuswap citizens fighting fires

BC United Party members criticize B.C. premier for blocking support
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo (pictured), Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar issued a media release Tuesday, Aug. 22, arguing the province not block public efforts to support citizens fighting fires in the North Shuswap. (Georgina Kyllo/Facebook photo)

Local BC United Party members are blaming B.C.’s premier for keeping support from reaching citizens attempting to save structures in areas of the North Shuswap under an evacuation order.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar issued a joint media release after hearing about “government efforts to block critical supplies from reaching those who stayed behind to protect homes and structures from fire in the North Shuswap.”

The three MLAs commented on how the day prior, B.C. Premier David Eby “spoke about the spirit and resourcefulness of numerous contractors who stayed behind to protect homes and structures… providing many costly items like fuel needed to run generators so water pumps would continue to operate structural protection units despite the absence of official government authorization to do so.”

“Sadly, these same contractors are being abandoned by Eby’s government, which is currently blocking critical supplies from reaching them, in an apparent effort to force them out,” said the MLAs.

“Without an immediate and significant deployment of government personnel and resources to continue fighting the fire, it is completely unacceptable that the government is blocking food, water and fuel from reaching these contractors who are credited with successfully preventing the loss of numerous homes and structures in Scotch Creek, Celista and other areas of the North Shuswap.

“These individuals should receive the supplies they need to continue to protect properties and structures in their communities. This government must order an end to this blockade of vital resources immediately.”

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District said Tuesday that permits are required in order to enter areas under an evacuation order, and that permits were not being issued due to safety concerns and active fire conditions.

“Falling danger trees, utility poles, and active fires, are of concern at this time. RCMP and security are actively patrolling the area,” said the CSRD.

The day prior, in a separate media release, the CSRD said it understands many residents want to remain in the Evacuation Order area to protect their properties, but stressed this decision “puts both you and our tireless responders at high risk and directly conflicts with the issued Evacuation Order.”

“Interfering with BC Wildfire crews not only endangers your safety but also hinders their vital work,” said the CSRD, stressing it is making every effort to maintain safety in evacuated areas, “but we require the public’s cooperation in preventing opportunities for theft or interference with firefighting operations.”

Read more: Lightning sparks several new fires in the Shuswap

Read more: N95 masks made available for Shuswap communities
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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