Public and First Responder Safety Message from the CSRD, TNRD, BC Wildfire Service, and BC RCMP

B.C., Chase

2023-08-21 21:17 PDT

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) understands that many residents want to remain in the Evacuation Order area to protect their properties. We must stress that this decision puts both you and our tireless responders at high risk and directly conflicts with the issued Evacuation Order.

Interfering with BC Wildfire crews not only endangers your safety but also hinders their vital work. Please be aware that if their operations are disrupted, they may have no choice but to relocate to a safer area. Additionally, tampering with equipment jeopardizes the safety of everyone involved. The pumps, sprinklers, hoses and ATVs that have been taken are critically impacting the effectiveness of structural protection. 

The structure protection equipment is actively saving essential services, critical infrastructure, and people's homes. If you see the equipment unattended, the BC Wildfire Service asks that you leave it in place. Experts in structure protection have put gear where it is most effective and to cover the largest area possible. 

During these trying times, we rely on the support of our community and the public. If you choose to remain on your private property and witness any criminal activity, we urge you to report it immediately to the RCMP. As of today, an increased BC RCMP presence is actively addressing issues related to tampered with equipment. 

The CSRD is making every effort to maintain safety in evacuated areas, but we require the public's cooperation in preventing opportunities for theft or interference with firefighting operations.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, along with the BC RCMP, the BC Wildfire Service, and the North Shuswap community, stand united in this challenge. Let us continue working together to ensure the safety of all.

Emergency responders are actively working to prevent the loss of life and property due to the current unprecedented and dynamic wildfire situation in British Columbia, says Staff Sergeant Kris Clark, BC RCMP. Attempts to interfere with their efforts or intimidate responders, or tampering with emergency equipment will not be tolerated and could result in criminal charges. For those who need to evacuate via the Seymour Arm route, facilitators are available to assist you on your evacuation route.

We cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of evacuating areas under an Evacuation Order. Your safety and the safety of our responders are our top priorities. Please heed the Evacuation Orders for your own well-being and that of your community.

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Columbia Shuswap Regional District

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