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HomeNews100 Mile HouseIndependent Review on 2017 Flood and Wildfire Seasons Released

Independent Review on 2017 Flood and Wildfire Seasons Released

Building partnerships were one of the key messages of an independent report entitled Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in BC.

The report was released Thursday afternoon by co-chairs Chief Maureen Chapman and former provincial cabinet minister and MLA George Abbott who examined the province’s practices and responses to the 2017 flood and wildfire seasons.

Abbott says the first meeting that they had was with the BC Cattlemen’s Association who made the point that many of their members do not leave their ranches when an evacuation order is issued.

“They stay,” he says. “They’ve got green fields, they’ve got big irrigation systems, they have in some cases logging equipment that can be utilized. We need to build partnerships with whether it’s with the logging contractors, the ranchers, the First Nations, with those who have said that they are going to stay and fight the fires.”

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“Most people should evacuate when there is an evacuation order without a doubt unless you are able to contribute in some way against a dangerous wildfire. For those staying that can be eyes and ears for the BC Wildfire Service, I think we can regularize including equipment appropriate for firefighting, training to perhaps the S-100 level, establishing solid communications links, having common permitting systems, and so on.”

Abbott points to the Cariboo Regional District in which many stayed to fight small fires as close to 170 lightning strikes on July 7, 2017, sparked over 160 wildfires overwhelming the BC Wildfire Service.

As well as the building of partnerships to maximize the effectiveness in dealing with such situations, Abbott says he hopes that that will also lead to partnerships in prevention.

“Given that climate change and the various manifestations are not about to go away, and the events of recent weeks and the unfolding events of today around flooding in various parts of the province is a reminder in fact that 2017 was not anomalous,” says Abbott.

“We’ve only begun in 2018.”

A total of 108 recommendations were made in the report, 19 of which according to Government are being implemented.

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said that an action plan to address the report’s recommendations will be developed by Oct. 31, 2018.

“The majority of recommendations are longer term in nature, and may require legislative changes or involve other levels of government,” he said.

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