Firefighting efforts are being negatively impacted by people who are going into fire areas, as well as stealing and vandalizing firefighting equipment.
“We certainly do appreciate all of the support that we get from the community, it’s overwhelming and our crews love to hear that feedback. Sadly, we do have some intrusions into our fire area, and I’ll just explain how that hurts us,” says BC Wildfire Service Fire Information Mike McCulley.
“If we have public coming into a fire area often we have to ground our helicopters, and stop our suppression techniques for safety reasons.”
McCulley says anytime that they are stopping their efforts, that puts their objectives behind and puts communities and people at risk. He adds that it’s dangerous work out there and that there are trees that have been burnt and compromised which need to be assessed before crews themselves can even go in.
Vandalism and theft of firefighting equipment are also hampering firefighting efforts.
“You can imagine how frustrating that is for a crew that has worked so hard to obtain an objective and they go out in the morning and their pumps are either stolen or damaged,” says McCulley.
“It slows us down, it takes away frankly taxpayers resources, and puts our crews at risk and also the public again, so simply unacceptable. It’s illegal.”