The Mayor of Williams Lake will be representing B.C. at the upcoming Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Forest Service symposium about forest fires in Canada.

(Image submitted)

Walt Cobb will be in Edmonton from Aug. 28 to 29.

“I was kind of honored that we’d be even asked but I guess because of our experience and what we had to do during the 2017 fires and some of the stuff that happened last year and a lot of the work that we have done, the City and the Ministry of Forests, and our fire department, since then to mitigate future problems,” Cobb said.

“So that’s basically what it’s about; just to share the information, some of the good, the bad, and the ugly so to speak that happened, and things that we have done to put in place that we can help mitigate the problem if we should have a fire come so close again.”

Vice President of Sustainability for the Forest Products Association of Canada, Kate Lindsay said they wanted to bring together different folks from different backgrounds that had experience with wildfire to provide their perspective including the mayor of High Level, Alberta.

“It’s really the beginning of a conversation,” Lindsay said.

“Different provinces have been obviously thinking about wildfire and wildfire mitigation for some time now particularly in British Columbia and Alberta but also other provinces across Canada. It’s an opportunity to bring together folks whether it’s within communities both Indigenous communities and municipalities, as well as the forest industry and forest researchers to talk about what some of the tools are and if they’re available, where they’ve been used, what are some of the lessons learned with wildfires, and what we hope to do is start to see where there may be some solutions emerging and partnerships so how we could work together.”

Lindsay added they intend to produce a document of what they heard during the two-day symposium.

“I anticipate that it will lead to more discussions, conversations with government and where we could move forward.”

(Editor’s Note: Listen to Walt Cobb, Mayor of Williams Lake with the author of this report in the audio file below)