BC Flood and Wildfire Review co-chair George Abbott discusses wildfire preventative measures with Moore Mountain residents Barry Moore (back right) and Don Wise during a meeting Tuesday night at the Pioneer Complex in Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo)

BC Flood and Wildfire Review yields great ideas, discussion: Abbott

A BC Flood and Wildfire Review conference in Williams Lake Tuesday garnered positive feedback.

A BC Flood and Wildfire Review conference in Williams Lake Tuesday garnered positive, and forward-moving feedback, said one of its co-chairs, George Abbott.

Following the 2017 B.C. wildfires costing more than $564 million in direct supression costs, the Government of B.C. commissioned a strategic review of flood and wildfire practices in the province, led by an independent team.

The BC Flood and Wildfire Review aims to examine provincial and local government emergency management systems to determine how the province can improve its governance systems, statutes, regulations, policy and leadership practices and began in December of 2017 and will continue until this April.

The review is focusing on four areas: planning and preparedness, prevention and mitigation, response and recovery.

Abbott, who was BC’s Minister of Education from 2010-12, is co-chairing the review alongside Chief Marueen Chapman of the Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation.

“We’ve got another two months here of this, and it’s been an intense and interesting journey,” Abbott told the Tribune. “We’ve met a lot of people from a variety of different events in the province and we’ve had a lot of really constructive feedback on issues about processes and how more people can play into the efforts of fire and flood.”

Abbott said, ideally, government will take the review and make the appropriate changes to policy referencing in areas that have been highlighted to them in multiple points across the province.

“Today we’ve had great discussion with provincial and local governments, the citizens here and one of the big topics has been the dilemma of old growth management,” Abbott said. “Pine beetle, fir beetle has a very high mortality rate and those areas are becoming threats to several communities.

“We now have an opportunity to think about it, act on it and hope government will act on these recommendations.”

He said one of the biggest things he’s learned following the summer’s wildfires is to try to find ways to plug in local knowledge, local human resources, equipment and machinery that can help wildfire suppression efforts.

“Local ranchers, farmers, First Nations — we want them to become allies, not adversaries,” he said. “And hopefully we can find ways to effectively fight fires and floods.

He said the review will be receptive to public submissions right up until the end of March.

“We’re happy to be persuaded to this or that until the end of March,” he said.

Tonight’s conference runs until 8 p.m. in room 119 at the Pioneer Complex in Williams Lake.

Just Posted

83 active wildfires and 9 fires-of-note in Cariboo Fire Centre Aug. 15

Up-to-date information about wildfires, evacuation orders and alerts in the Cariboo Fire Centre.

Horsefly River angling closed from Quesnel Lake to Woodjam Bridge until further notice

The move comes to protect rainbow trout from warming temperatures in the river

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Performances in the Park moving to Gibraltar Room for two final concerts

With smoky conditions in the forecast the organizers have decided to hold the next two concerts indoors

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

‘Treed in perpetuity’: How to log without clearcutting

Thinning treed areas can make properties less vulnerable to fire and make money without clearcutting

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Regional climate adaptation agriculture testing to expand in B.C.

Ottawa funds farm projects to conserve water, remove invasive species

VIDEO: B.C. RCMP officers excel in Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

Most Read