Cariboo Regional District working through recommendations in wildfire report

By Jill Sperling
March 18, 2018 - 9:04am

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — The Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors is working its way through a wildfire report, containing information gleaned from community consultations in the fall. 

The report, compiled by consultant Butterfly Effect Communications, identifies more than 70 recommendations for improving overall wildfire response and operations.

CRD Chair Margo Wagner says the most feasible recommendations will be implemented first, but some will require help from the provincial government. 

"I think some of the stuff that we could probably implement is improving how the CRD does some stuff," Wagner said. "I think we can improve our lines of communication. I think we can, in conjunction of working with the RCMP which we've already started to do, we can improve the permitting system that allows people to get back in to evacuated areas. 

"I think we can improve making sure we don't end up isolating communities for a long period of time, which happened this past summer because of a lot of road closures that we deemed necessary at the time, but because it went on for so long it became a struggle with getting food supplies in."

Wagner has formed the Emergency Preparedness Committee, made up of eight Board of Director members. 

She says the Cariboo Regional District is about as prepared as it can be for another wildfire season. 

"We have to remember that this past summer was like a hundred year event for the Cariboo," she said. "I'm not saying we will never go through it again, but I'm hoping it won't be this coming summer. And, we will be as prepared as we possibly can be.

"I've said several times that honestly, I don't think it would have mattered last summer if we'd had a billion dollars at hand, we were a huge organizations with an endless supply of volunteers, I honestly don't know that any organization would have been prepared for what happened last summer."

New poll shows NDP ahead of Liberals in all parts of B.C.