TODD Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, is demanding answers and accountability from Premier John Horgan and the NDP, after the White Rock Lake wildfire destroyed homes and businesses and caused widespread damage to the community of Monte Lake.
“We appreciate the hard-working fire crews on the front lines, who are doing the best they can with the resources being provided — and we’re thinking of them and the affected residents,” said Stone on Friday. “But for weeks, the Official Opposition and local residents have been publicly and privately urging the government to put more resources on this wildfire. It’s clear the Province failed to provide the BC Wildfire Service with the supports it needs. Now we have a second B.C. community suffering from a devastating loss of structures and services. With similar wind conditions forecast for today, this fire will continue to threaten local communities and put people and their livelihoods at risk.”
Stone noted it was nearly a month ago that the BC Wildfire Service publicly outlined its resource challenges, yet the Premier and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth didn’t act quickly enough to find new sources of help. They also dithered on calling a State of Emergency despite pleas from several municipal officials as well as the Official Opposition.
“Last month I wrote to Minister Farnworth to urge the government to pursue more tools to fight wildfires, including supports offered by the private sector,” said Mike Morris, Opposition Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “As wildfires get worse, B.C. needs a plan and the capacity to respond. Right now, it’s clear we don’t have either.”