McBride Fire Department hosts meeting on Emergency and Wildfire Preparation

Allan Frederick

On Wednesday morning May 2nd, an Emergency and Wildfire preparation meeting was held at the Fire Department in McBride.

McBride Fire Department hosts meeting on Emergency and Wildfire Preparation
Allan Frederick photo

The Emergency and Wildfire Preparation meeting in McBride on May 2nd was well represented by community organizations and agencies at all levels. Discussions stressed the need to be prepared in advance for emergencies such as happened during last year’s wildfires.

The meeting was organized by RCMP Acting Sergeant Kyle Ushock together with McBride District Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dave Hruby.

Approximately 35 people, from a variety of government departments and local organizations including Village of McBride staff, Mayor, councillors and CAO, as well as Robson Valley Support Services (RVSS), two new Emergency Support Services Co-Directors and local area MLA Shirley Bond attended.

The meeting began with participants introducing themselves and stating what positions or roles they could fill in emergency situations.

A short overview of the issues, concerns, as well as successes stemming from last year’s evacuations resulting from the wildfires was discussed, with one of the major issues being the need for accurate information and effective communication.

For example, while assistance for the evacuees from the comfort centres set up in McBride and Valemount were appreciated, the necessity of people having to register in Prince George and Kamloops put a burden on highway traffic as well as public concerns over available assistance.

The Regional District is looking at assisting with emergency planning for the district in general through the use of online registration for evacuees in the event of another major evacuation scenario.

A brief overview of the fire risks for the Robson Valley was also discussed, with the main concern being the area of Highway 16 east of Tete Jaune towards the Alberta border, and the Jasper townsite.

The importance of FireSmart information for rural property owners and the necessity of being prepared in advance of any wildfire situation, including evacuation, was stressed.

An open discussion followed, and ideas and contact information were passed around the table. Overall, organizers felt that the meeting served its purpose.