Does it send the wrong message?
Some are questioning the province’s decision to compensate Rock Creek residents who defied an evacuation order in an effort to fight last month’s wildfire.
Area E director Vicki Gee, who represents the small community of Rock Creek in the southern interior, says she has mixed feelings about the BC Wildfire Service paying a group of people who stayed back to protect properties.
“Of concern is the issue of training and experience with firefighting. There is a risk involved. In this case it was very successful. I believe people in that neighborhood were instrumental in saving their properties, so it is a really tough situation.”
The residents who get the payout say they will donate it to those who lost their homes.
It’s a One-off
The BC Wildfire Service is defending its move to compensate the citizen firefighters.
Glen Burgess says the residents had the knowledge and equipment to build containment lines and even had a water truck.
“These are the only residents who we are aware of that fought fire on Crown land so that’s the important difference. If you are fighting the fire on your own private land, you are not eligable for compensation.”
He says around a dozen people will get paid, but he doesn’t know how much.
Burgess calls it a one-off event and the first time in his 30 year career this has ever happened.