Many Shuswap residents still frustrated with management of Bush Creek East wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Kamloops News

Many Shuswap residents still frustrated with management of Bush Creek East wildfire

Triton docks building smouldering in Scotch Creek after the Bush Creek East wildfire swept through.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Jim Cooperman

The Bush Creek East wildfire that tore through several communities in the Shuswap last summer continues to be a hot topic of controversy and debate among residents.

Two wildfires merged northwest of Chase on Aug. 19, 2023 becoming a mega-sized fire burning out of control, shutting down the Trans-Canada Highway and forcing residents to flee.

Several community members defied evacuation orders by the BC Wildfire service to defend their homes, creating friction with authorities and prompting some residents to criticize how the wildfire was managed.

The issue was one of many brought up by the public through community engagement events set up by the regional district last month, the results of which were released by the Columbia Shuswap regional district, April 11.

According to the results, many in the damaged communities felt not enough was done to share resources with locals who chose to stay behind and fight the fire, and some felt those people were treated like criminals. Along with that came a request for the development of community groups who could support the wildfire efforts in the future.

“I’m glad that I came to all four sessions. I needed to know what was said in each. We need the government to hear what happened, and for an inquiry to occur. We need for (Premier) David Eby to come here and see the damage, listen to our stories,” reads an anonymous quote in the release.

READ MORE: Just three prescribed burns will prepare Okanagan for wildfire season

The majority of the community found the evacuation alert on Aug. 18 came too late for some while others didn’t receive one at all. There was difficulty with both the district’s alert app and a federal alert app during the emergency and a general lack of communication to the public leading up the alerts and throughout the wildfire event.

“We didn’t hear anything from the Nation and we didn’t hear anything from the CSRD. Who do we go to in a crisis? We were completely abandoned in this event. Forty-five homes were lost on leased land and this hasn’t even been recognized,” reads another anonymous comment in the release.

READ MORE: North America’s first wildfire fighting training, education centre is coming to TRU

Town hall events were held in Sorrento, Celista, Anglemont and Quaaout Lodge where 250 community members attended, while 40 members attended two virtual events. A survey on the district web page captured feedback where 473 people completed part of it and 366 completed all of it.

“We learned significant details from the survey and interactive engagement from the in-person sessions about where participants got their information during the wildfire,” the release reads. “This will inform tactics in the future. We also got a good snapshot of numbers for emergency support services and the experience of those who used the program.”

Go here to read the full regional district report.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.

News from © iNFOnews, 2024

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile