The Prime Minister visited Logan Lake on Friday.
The premier of British Columbia said the province would develop “a 12-month-a-year approach” to be better prepared to deal with wildfires after a 2021 fire season that has so far cost half a billion dollars to taxpayers.
John Horgan was in Logan Lake on Friday, meeting with local officials and residents less than two weeks after the Tremont Creek fire nearly devastated the community.
Speaking to reporters, Horgan hinted at big changes coming to the way wildfires are tackled in British Columbia.
“We had in 2017, 2018 and now 2021, three of the worst fire seasons in British Columbia history,” he said, calling it a “horrible” summer in terms of fires. forest.
“We need to make sure we have a program engaged across the province. “
Horgan said wildland firefighting in British Columbia has typically been funded largely by contingency – meaning a nominal amount is budgeted for a given year and then overruns for fire seasons. charges are paid for by finding money elsewhere in the budget.
He said he wanted this to change.
“If we have the resources at the start of the year, the BC Wildfire Service can retain people to help FireSmart, can create guards around these interface communities,” he said.
“This has to be the way we go forward.”
Horgan visited Lake Logan on Friday with Mayor Robin Smith and Minister of Forests Katrine Conroy.
Logan Lake was evacuated on August 12. Two days later, on August 14, the Tremont Creek fire burned within the municipal limits of Logan Lake, but no structure was lost after firefighters worked through the night to fight the flames.
Residents were allowed to return home late last week and were given the green light on Wednesday.
Horgan said budget planning for 2022 was underway and additional spending for the BC Wildfire Service was high on the priority list.
“We will make sure we are better prepared – as well prepared as possible,” he said, noting that approximately $ 500 million has been spent on fighting the fire in British Columbia so far this year. .
“We will be making a submission to the government so that we can focus on a 12 month per year approach to make sure our communities are safe.” “
Horgan also said those responsible for the wildfires are keen to work with First Nations in British Columbia. He mentioned a discussion with Okanagan Indian Band leaders on Thursday about the traditional prescribed burn.
“We raised these issues with BC Wildfire Service,” he said. “We will be looking at all the tools available to us in the future. “