Of the 90 wildfires that occurred within the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) last year, there were eight wildfires of note.
That’s according to the 2021 wildfire after action report, prepared by the RDBN Emergency Program Coordinator Christopher Walker and received by the board this week.
The 2021 wildfire season required the activation of the RDBN Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at all levels over the season, with several large fires of note resulting in evacuation alerts and evacuation orders being issued.
Statistically, 2021 saw 90 wildfires occurring within the boundary of the RDBN, 59 of which were in the Prince George Fire Centre and 31 were in the Northwest Fire Centre. The 90 fires burned a total of 83,504.9 hectares.
These included the Bulkley Lake fire, the Cutoff Creek fire, the Grizzly Lake fire, the Camsell Lake fire, the Mount Porter fire, the Klawli Lake fire, the Chilako fire, and the Chief Louis Lake fire.
In total there were 328 Evacuation alerts and 263 Evacuation orders delivered to addresses near Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, and Burns Lake RCMP, as well as Nechako Valley Search & Rescue and Burns Lake Search & Rescue.
The regular staff hours spent in the EOC are a direct cost to the RDBN, overtime and expenses are reimbursed by Emergency Management B.C. The total cost of regular EOC staff time to the RDBN was $49,509. The overtime staff cost was $61,649.
In addition to statistics, the report also outlined recommendations on how to improve operations in 2022.
One of the recommendations was to develop an EOC orientation program for new staff, as it was noted that summer students felt overwhelmed.
Another recommendation was to establish a critical incident stress management program for personnel because some staff expressed that mental health debriefings would be beneficial.
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