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CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. – After northeast B.C. received help from many areas last year when the Peace Region was struck by wildfires, residents are now frustrated as to why the PRRD won’t send machinery from Charlie Lake to help those in the Central Interior.

A resident who spoke to anonymously, says that the Peace River Regional District allegedly told the Charlie Lake Department: Charlie Lake residents bought the equipment for themselves and would not want it going to another jurisdiction.

“It’s not an acceptable excuse. There are mutual aid agreements in place across the province. It would be perfectly normal and acceptable to send units down there. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The resident states that the Williams Lake Fire Department was deployed west of the 73 area last year when northeast B.C. struggled with fires. They brought up machinery, which he credits with saving many structures.

“I would easily credit them with saving dozens of buildings in the area because of what they did.”

While sending manpower would be appreciated, the resident also stated that without machinery, it isn’t going to be easy.

“A firefighter is no good without fire equipment. I would say ‘what good is a saddle without a horse?’. There is nothing they can do without equipment.”

Another post appeared on Facebook from a man who also questioned the Peace River Regional District’s reasoning.

Chief Administrative Officer with the Peace River Regional District, Chris Cvik, told yesterday that they had not approved apparatus but approved manpower. He did not give a specific reason for the Regional District saying no to apparatus.

“The Regional District has said ‘no’ to ‘apparatus’ but ‘yes’ to manpower. Please note that the Charlie Lake Fire Department has not received any request for manpower at this time. They have asked members of the Volunteer Fire Department to let them know if they are interested/available to be deployed, should the request be made.”

Cvik also responded to by email on Wednesday evening.

“The decision to not send equipment is based on ensuring that the Charlie Lake Fire Protection area has proper protection in the event of a fire. The Charlie Lake Fire Protection area is made up of a specified area of Electoral Area C and B and the residents, businesses, and industry within this area are the some of the groups that help pay for the service.”

The Dawson Creek Fire Department said that they will be sending two pieces of equipment along with firefighters. The Charlie Lake Fire Department is the Regional District Fire Department, so decisions on sending machinery falls with the Peace River Regional District.

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