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“It’s complicated”: Prime Minister commits to rebuilding fire-ravaged North Shuswap

Premier David Eby stopped in Salmon Arm Monday (Sept. 11) to meet with the Regional District of Columbia Shuswap, local politicians and First Nations leaders to discuss the wildfires that have destroyed many communities in North Shuswap.

Eby said it’s clear that North Shuswap residents are resilient and ready to embark on the path to recovery.

“I understand it’s a complicated story,” Eby said of residents staying behind to protect their properties.

The premier noted that many people are credited with saving homes and businesses, but those people sometimes also hampered firefighting efforts. Eby said the province is exploring ways the BC Wildfire Service can collaborate with people who know the terrain and equipment to fight fires in a more organized way.

“It’s something they did on the fly here. At times there were 17 locals working side by side with the BC Wildfire Service, which was a very positive thing because it was coordinated. How can we learn from this and move forward like countries, like Australia, that are using volunteers aggressively? »

Some homeowners stayed when evacuation orders were issued because they didn’t have insurance or coverage in the event of a wildfire. Eby made it clear the province will do everything it can to help people get back on their feet.

“There are many reports of elderly people who live in modular homes or in RVs, retired, without insurance, who are virtually homeless now, without resources to be able to rebuild, and others who have everything lost – their workplace burned down. down, their house burned.

The province is also prepared to support local authorities in rebuilding fire-damaged communities, including providing resources to maintain staff and advance building permits. “It won’t happen overnight, but we will provide the necessary support. »

The Prime Minister gave some further details on the recently announced task force for climate-related emergencies. Both members of the provincial government and individuals will gather and evaluate information from across British Columbia in order to make appropriate changes to fighting wildfires.

“We don’t have the luxury of waiting four to six months for a report to be written, for the information to be gathered, for the recommendations to be finalized, and then to respond to those recommendations. As we move into implementation, we are entering the next fire season.

“What we hope is that as information comes to us from the regional district, from the people on the front lines and these recommendations come in, we can immediately begin the changes, the training and the programs that we are proposing to be we can ensure that for the next fire season we will already be in position.

Eby flew over the wildfire area and visited several people who lost property in the fire during his visit to the Shuswap.

The Bush Creek East wildfire has officially been burning for two months and is more than 43,000 hectares in size.

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