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North Shuswap citizens receive BCWS fire training, need garbage bins

Without power since Aug. 18, locals now dealing with rotting food
A sign placed along Highway 1 at the 5th Street SW intersection urges support for the North Shuswap. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Garbage disposal was another concern for citizens in evacuation order areas of the North Shuswap coping with the aftermath of the Bush Creek East wildfire.

While power is slowly being restored, at least in Scotch Creek, that community as well as Lee Creek and Celista have been without electricity since the now 41,000-plus hectare blaze burned through on Friday, Aug. 18. As a result, people who opted to remain in those areas are now figuring out how to dispose of rotting food.

“I’ve been working on getting garbage bins to various areas for the last few days,” said Jay Simpson, North Shuswap resident and Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Electoral Area F director in an Aug. 25 post on his Facebook page, Jay, North Shuswap Info.

Simpson explained the rotting food problem is compounded by the fact it’s an attractant for predators. He said the CSRD is working to get a permit to get garbage bins but has not yet been successful.

“They won’t let the bins into the evacuation zone but I’m hoping to get some up into Magna Bay or Anglemont,” commented Simpson who, in discussion with the Observer, called the situation with permit acquisition “very confusing.”

“The CSRD doesn’t seem to have a whole bunch of control over it.”

Getting fuel into the area is also a priority – one hindered by security checkpoints for the evacuation order areas.

“I don’t think that’s going to change until we get a little safer – what they deem as safe out there,” said Simpson, noting BC Hydro has been removing danger trees and poles.

Regarding power restoration, Simpson said a portion of Scotch Creek had power restored the day prior.

Asked about ongoing efforts to work collaboratively with the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), Simpson said locals had begun training with BCWS that day.

“We have 25 people from the community… they wanted the younger people who have forest experience, loggers and people who have worked in the woods, and they’ve got them on a one-day intensive training course to get their S100 certification, which means they can go to work for BCWS and be covered by their insurance/liability and all that kind of stuff,” said Simpson. “They’re in that training course today at Captain’s Village. Saturday and Sunday is a two-day training course, which is the typical training course for others that don’t have that woods experience. So we’re looking at getting the community trained so they can get out there and help BCWS work on the fires directly.”

Read more: More than 130 properties lost to Bush Creek East wildfire in Columbia Shuswap

Read more: More than 4,000 properties remain on evacuation order across Central Okanagan
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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