A sign near Ashcroft last summer spells out Carmen Jacobsen’s gratitude after her home was left intact after the Elephant Hill wildfire roared through. KTW file photo

Wildfire review panel pushes preparation as it meets in Kamloops

By Andrea Klassen

Kamloops This Week

The heads of a provincial review of how wildfires and floods are handled in B.C. say there’s a need for more preparation and training in times of calm.

Skawahlook First Nation Chief Maureen Chapman and former MLA George Abbott told KTW prevention, training and the need for better communication have been recurring themes as they begin a provincewide consultation.

The review, which began its public consultations on Feb. 5 with an open house in Kamloops, is tasked with making recommendations to improve the province’s response to fires and floods, as well as its preparation and follow-up for such events.

Abbott and Chapman will submit a final report to Premier John Horgan at the end of April.

“What we need are ideas,” Abbott said.

READ MORE: Protecting the working forest from wildfire (Feb. 5, 2018)

Members of the public can continue to submit their thoughts online at bcflood firereview.ca. More open houses are planned throughout B.C.

Abbott said local participants have raised the need to get governments across the province using the same information standards, rather than the current patchwork of different systems and file types.

Abbott said there’s also a lack of funding to ensure all local governments, particularly First Nations — which only became part of the Emergency Management BC partnership in 2017 — are trained to the same level.

“When response begins, the provincial government’s wallet opens …” Abbott said. “It’s the prevention, preparation and mitigation pieces it’s much more difficult to get reliable funding for.”

Complaints about misinformation on social media and conflicting reporting have also been common, he said.

The review will look for ways to ensure more factual information is being communicated out during fire and flood situations.

Chapman said she has also heard from people who want to highlight good work done during the summer’s wildfires.

“There’s been such an outpouring of people stepping up and doing whatever they can to help people,” she said.

Other Kamloops-specific ideas centred around the city’s often smoky air quality during the fires.

Multiple residents used feedback boards at the open house to call for more comprehensive risk evaluations, mask availability and guidelines for when children should be kept inside at school during periods of bad air quality.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Barriere Outdoor Club host a day for grade 8 students on snowshoes

The Grade 8’s ski and snowshoe program wrapped up their final lesson… Continue reading

District of Barriere addressing concerns regarding RV parking in the municipality

North Thompson Star/Journal District of Barriere CAO Colleen Hannigan reported to the… Continue reading

Heavy snow fall hits valley once again

There seems to have been plenty of snow come down this winter… Continue reading

Kamloops-Thompson district says school followed policy on assault complaint

By Dale Bass Kamloops This Week Kamloops-Thompson school district Supt. Alison Sidow… Continue reading

Life. We don’t want you to miss it.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation is working hard to ensure more people have more moments.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read