The mayor of Logan Lake B.C. says her community started working on the FireSmart wildfire prevention program “before it was invented,” as much as 18 years ago, and it has helped the community to escape widespread damage in the 2021 wildfire season.
Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy visited the Logan Lake fire department Friday and praised their efforts, along with the convergence of B.C. Wildfire Service and structure firefighters from around the province to help save the community. They said Mayor Robin Smith and the team have demonstrated what needs to be done in the rest of B.C. Logan Lake was named Canada’s first FireSmart community in 2013.
“We want to see that we’re duplicating this across the province,” Conroy said after an aerial tour of the region Aug. 27. The tour included flying over Monte Lake, where fire swept through and destroyed homes at the height of this summer’s wildfires. Horgan said the aftermath shows the community was threatened from all directions.
“For those who have not yet seen the devastation, it was profound,” Horgan said, adding that in out-of-control fire situations, the B.C. Wildfire Service prioritizes saving lives, and then protecting properties.
Logan Lake, west of Kamloops, was under evacuation order Aug. 12 as the community was threatened by the Tremont Creek wildfire.
Horgan said his experience with the devastating fire seasons of 2017, 2018 and now 2021 has convinced him the province needs to gear up its wildfire efforts into a year-round program. That will require a substantial increase in the up-front budget so the B.C. Wildfire Service can start early on controlled burns and interface fuel control, using the FireSmart program that coordinates local, provincial and federal agencies.