Davies asks Province for debris cleanup plan from June storm

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – MLA Dan Davies is asking for the Province to come up with a cleanup plan following a Jun…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – MLA Dan Davies is asking for the Province to come up with a cleanup plan following a June 30th storm that blew through the Peace region, resulting in swaths of downed trees on Crown land.

In a letter to Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, Katrine Conroy, Davies requested assistance with a cleanup plan for the affected areas including Red Creek, Coffee Creek, Doig, Blueberry and Prespatou.

“I witnessed overturned grain silos, lifted structures right off the foundations, and ripped various roofing materials from buildings,” wrote Davies. “Many property owners reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.”

The PRRD reached out to Davies’ office in the summer, highlighting the risk of the downed trees as a potential wildfire hazard.

Further, the PRRD requested assistance from the BC Wildfire Service to clean up the affected areas.

However, due to the overwhelming fire situation in British Columbia this past season, Davies says there were no crews available this summer to clear debris on Crown land.

“It’s a mess in there. When I went up there to walk through it, there’s fallen trees everywhere. Well, those trees are now adding to the fire load, it’s like a powderkeg ready to go off. All it takes is one lightning strike, and we have chaos.”

As a result, Davies wants to start the discussion on a spring 2022 cleanup plan that will involve all stakeholders before the next fire season approaches.

“It is critical that we establish a cleanup plan for the Crown land in these impacted areas.”

Davies says the stretch of power lines along the highway that were knocked down by trees raises another issue.

“If you go up the highway, many of those trees are located close to power lines. Every time there’s a wind storm, a tree falls over and knocks the lines out. Let’s be proactive.”

Davies points to the many experts in the Northeast that would be helpful in addressing the issue of forest health and fire risk.

“We have some great forest experts up in the Northeast that understand how to do prescribed burns. We’ve been talking about this for years, so these are the things that government needs to be looking at as a preventative measure. But we need to get them to the table, and that’s what the letter to the Minister is about. We need a plan in place sooner rather than later.”

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