Valley needs to be self-reliant in wildfire protection

The fire in the Okanagan should serve as a reminder to residents of the North Thompson Valley that we need to be self-reliant

With rain pouring down in Clearwater overnight, many of us were surprised to learn Monday morning that 1,500 people from the town of Peachland had been evacuated because of a wildfire.

The fire in the Okanagan should serve as a reminder to residents of the North Thompson Valley that we need to be self-reliant when it comes to protecting ourselves from interface fires.

That was a lesson that was painfully obvious during the wildfires of 2003.

Then, when the McLure Fire pretty well destroyed the community of Louis Creek and came close to taking out the town of Barriere, the situation was the number one priority with the provincial news media and B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch.

A few days later, however, when wildfire started destroying homes in Kelowna, attention shifted. The priority became saving hundreds of homes in the Okanagan versus dozens in the North Thompson.

Except for a few weeks in August, the summer of 2012 was generally cool and wet in the North Thompson.

That should not blind us to the fact that next year could be as hot and as dry as 2003 – if not worse.

Some have assured us that local, private firefighting contractors provide an adequate backup to protect our local communities. That assurance ignores the fact that, in an extreme wildfire year, those local crews and equipment likely would be committed elsewhere.

What we need is a volunteer wildfire service similar to what they have in Australia. This would act as a local reserve for when the regular Ministry and private contractor crews are in danger of being overwhelmed.

Although the story still has not been fully told, it is safe to say that the town of Barriere is still here today largely because of the efforts of the Barriere Volunteer Fire Department plus a handful of local residents who did not want to see their community and their jobs go up in smoke.

It would be foolish to assume that such efforts will not be needed again to save some other Valley community in the future.

 

We need to start planning for such a contingency now.

 

 

Just Posted

TNRD removes sand from Vavenby’s well

To help the crew in removing the sand from the well, a special “shovel” was created

Work-bee cleans ski trails

Candle Creek cross-country ski trails get tidied up for winter

PHOTO: Many hands make light work

Volunteers help out during work-bee at Clearwater ski hill

Fire department holds open house

Public event held as part of Fire Prevention Week

Above and Beyond awards for heroes of fire and floods

Nominations open for British Columbians until January.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Most Read