Firefighter Raymundo Rosales, of Mexico, lies his tent at a camp of wildfire firefighters and staff at an outdoor sports field, in Fraser Lake, B.C., on Wednesday August 22, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Firefighter Raymundo Rosales, of Mexico, lies his tent at a camp of wildfire firefighters and staff at an outdoor sports field, in Fraser Lake, B.C., on Wednesday August 22, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Trudeau pledges to close gaps between cities, First Nations on wildfires

Municipalities work with province on wildfires, while First Nations are federal responsibility

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government needs to do a better job making sure First Nations have what they need to fight forest fires.

Trudeau acknowledged the gaps Thursday in resources for municipalities, which work with the province on wildfires, and First Nations, which fall under federal responsibility.

“Municipalities get resources from provinces, but when the neighbouring Indigenous community turns to the province: ‘Well, we need resources.’ ‘Well, you are a federal responsibility.’ We have to clear up those lines of flowing resources and ensuring people get what they need, regardless of whether they are in an Indigenous community or a non-Indigenous community,” he said.

He said things have improved since devastating wildfires in B.C. last year, but more work needs to be done to ensure everyone is equally protected.

“We need to make sure people are safe and that homes and livelihoods are protected. That’s something that we are very much working on and we will continue to. We made significant improvements, but … there’s still lots more to do.”

Trudeau left the federal cabinet meeting in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to travel to Prince George in central British Columbia to meet with those working to control some of the 563 wildfires that have charred more than 6,000-square-kilometres of the province. He met with fire protection officer Tom Reinboldt, Mayor Lyn Hall and local legislature member John Rustad, among others, in a boardroom at the local fire centre.

“Thank you for making it possible for me to come this morning. I absolutely didn’t want to disrupt anything, but I wanted to be able to thank everyone for the work they’re doing, and see and make sure everyone’s collaborating well, as I know they are,” Trudeau said.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

B.C. wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

He has tasked several members of the federal cabinet with co-ordinating support, recovery and rebuilding efforts as the federal and B.C. governments work together to assist those affected by the fires.

The wildfire danger map posted by the BC Wildfire Service showed a danger rating of extreme or high across most of the province and thousands were on evacuation alert or have already fled their homes. But cooler weather and possible showers were in the forecast, although officials warn there is a danger of lightning along with the rain.

Leaders in the tiny community of Lower Post near the Yukon boundary confirmed at a community meeting Wednesday night that three structures were lost as a 50-square-kilometre wildfire skipped through the middle of the village.

Other fires around the province prompted evacuation orders Wednesday, including for homes and cottages threatened by an aggressive blaze near MacGillivray, east of Pemberton.

Dense smoke from the fires continued to prompt air quality alerts across most of B.C. because of soaring levels of tiny bits of grit contained in the smoke. In Prince George, the air smelled strongly of smoke and a hazy grey hung in the sky.

The advisory for Metro Vancouver included ground level ozone, the smog created when emissions from vehicles and other sources react in sunlight and stagnant air.

— With files from CKRW

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Ed Harrison tops school district by-election poll. (file photo)
Ed Harrison tops Terrace school district by-election poll

One of seven people vying to fill vacant seat

Paramedics Andrew Mills, left, and Rick Harwood are up from Victoria to help out local ambulance crews. (Photo courtesy BC Emergency Health Services)
Extra paramedics sent to Terrace

Area is experiencing high number of COVID cases

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Security has been stepped up at both Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, pictured here, and at Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read