Column: Not all heroes wear capes

In the words of the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department, not all heroes wear capes.

In the words of the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department, not all heroes wear capes.

Recently, I travelled to MLVFD. On behalf of our provincial government, I was delighted to present them with $21,000 for first responder operations.

Recently, the MLVFD first responder’s team participated in an intensive training session at the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department’s Hall. This is a fantastic program that provides hands-on training and seminars to firefighters across the province.

We owe a great debt to firefighters. During fires, while people run out of a burning building, firefighters put themselves in harm’s way. However, with the wildfires in the northeast region, and recent wildfires that were contained in Nazko and 70 Mile House thanks to our fire crews, as the summer approaches, it’s important that we all do our part to prevent wildfires. The FireSmart program teaches ways we can minimize wildfire threats near our homes. FireSmart activities include: thinning and trimming trees, shrubs and other vegetation, removing flammable material from the property, ensuring that woodpiles and other easily ignited materials are stored away from buildings and using fire-resistant building and landscaping materials. The recently updated FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual is available online at: http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm.

As part of Balanced Budget 2016, our government also invested $85 million in the new Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. The society will focus on wildfire risk reduction to complement the ministry’s existing forest stewardship programs and world-class wildfire suppression capabilities. To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or burning violation, please call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the MLVFD’s Mother’s Day Market Sunday. It’s their biggest fundraising event of the year and it’s great to see the department get the support they need. The MLVFD is looking for more volunteers to join the team. If you are interested in helping out, call Ian Hicks at 250-303-2210.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.