RDBN and BC Wildfire Speakers | Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand

Approximately 100 area residents, BC Wildfire Service representatives, and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) staff turned out to last night’s public forum in Burns Lake.

The meeting was in regards to the wildfire action blazing through the District and more specifically, what to do in the event of an evacuation alert.

The general feel of the room was filled with a bit of an edge, as all ears were perked up to listen to what the speakers had to say.

With his take on the event, here’s RDBN Chair, Bill Miller.

“We heard some great questions and concerns tonight, there’s no doubt about that. One thing we need to remember is, it’s not just our home we’re talking about, it’s our life. This wildfire zone has always been good, but I’ve definitely sensed a shift in attitude. What I mean by that is, people are being more proactive and respecting fire season when it’s upon us. It’s definitely a much more aggressive information transfer than in years past.”

RDBN Chair Bill Miller (Green) talking with Burns Lake residents | Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand

A lot of the public session surrounded what would happen if an evac. order was placed. At this point, there aren’t many concrete answers. This is because experts within the region do not want to play the “what if game” until something actually happens. That does not mean there is not a plan, it simply means you never want to be too far ahead of yourself and cause panic.

There’s no doubt about it, community involvement is key and Miller says that’s a very crucial piece to the area’s success.

“We need all hands on deck when it comes to situations like this. Resources are stretched not only here in the region, but the entirety of the province. If you look across BC, there are wildfires basically burning everywhere. Tonight’s forum displayed a good sense of awareness and public engagement. It’s great to see the community rally together.”

Now on to the scary stuff.

The RDBN issued an evacuation order late last night. That story can be found here.

Miller walks us through the process of issuing an evacuation order after the alert is released.

“We work hand-in-hand with the BC Wildfire Service when it comes to these situations. They work on what they call decision lines, which basically means they tend to try and stay more than one step ahead. Because they have better technology when it comes to this stuff, they will recommend to us when there is an imminent danger to residents. At that point, it would be in the hands of the RDBN staff and Municipal Governments to get this information out in a timely manner.”

During this time, it is asked that residents stay proactive. Prepare your home and family for the worst case scenario. It is also recommended that people stay as up to date as possible by being active on social media and listening to their local radio station.

The entire public session was streamed on Facebook Live. The video can be found on the Bulkley-Nechako Emergency Information  Facebook page.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the wildfire situation, it is asked that you contact the RDBN directly at 250-692-3195 or visit their website found here.

For tips to staying prepared during wildfire season, click here.

To track current wildfire activity throughout BC, click here.