Region district and wildfire management agree on two issues

This past summer the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako board expressed frustration over communication procedures.

Wildfire Management Branch (WMB) executive director Brian Simpson was in Burns Lake on Nov. 21 to make a presentation to Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) board members.

This past summer the RDBN board expressed frustration over communication procedures between RDBN staff, the Vanderhoof/Fort St. James (VanJam) fire centre, and the Prince George fire centre.

A large forest fire in the Fraser Lake area – the Peta Mountain fire – destroyed a home last August. Regional District of Bulkley Nechako staff only found out about the threat to property after the damage had been done. Staff scrambled to assist the displaced family (‘Regional district gets little info from fire centre’ Aug. 21, 2013), and would have appreciated earlier communication regarding the developing situation.

The safety and security of residents is a mandate for the RDBN and they have extensively developed and tested protocols for dealing with all manner of natural or human-caused disaster. But if information doesn’t reach RDBN staff, they cannot act.

Since then, reported RDBN chair Bill Miller, staff have worked through a number of issues with the VanJam and Prince George fire centres.

“There’s still a little angst around a few things,” Miller said. “But I think we’re generally going in the right direction.”

Challenges WMB faces in conveying information hinge on the quickly-changing nature of forest fires.

“Information flow when it comes to forest fires is essential, and it’s a real challenge even internally to our own organization,” Simpson said. “Largely because of the dynamic nature of fires.”

“The bigger challenge is that [we] provide information and almost as soon as [we] provide it, it changes because of the dynamic nature of the fire,” Simpson explained. “The worst case scenario is that we give information to local government and before you know it, it is out of date because things have gone sideways.”

Simpson assured RDBN directors that streamlining communications and developing consistent communication protocols across different fire centres (Nadina, VanJam, and Prince George fire centres all operate within the RDBN) was a WMB priority, and one of his top priorities.

A larger issue that both the RDBN and WMB are concerned about is fuel mitigation. With large stands of dead and drying timber thanks to the mountain pine-beetle epidemic, both agencies are concerned about the possibility of large forest fire events.

“The fire management situation in B.C., like in the rest of the world, is changing, and it’s not changing for the better,” Simpson said. “We need to focus on our response side of the equation, but also on the landscape level. We need to ensure that our landscapes are in a state where we can protect against those… large conflagration fires like Binta Lake.”

In 2010, the Binta Lake fire grew to over 400 square kilometres threatening residents and property.

“We need to create more resilient landscapes out there to prevent these kinds of large events,” Simpson said. “Larger stands in mother nature’s world were meant to burn on a more regular basis.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

The track washrooms will be opened up again next year in May. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Toilets, sinks torn off, graffiti on walls at the Burns Lake track washroom

“Seems to happen once or twice a year” says the Village CAO on the vandalized track washroom

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read