Donaldson Hoping For First-hand Look at Telegraph Creek Situation

John Crawford

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says he wants a first-hand view of the situation at Telegraph Creek, where wildfires have devastated the community and the surrounding area.

Donaldson and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth twice attempted to fly into the area Wednesday and were turned back by thick smoke, but he says he's determined to get into the region on Thursday.  

Donaldson says he and Farnworth spoke by phone with Tahltan Band Chief Rick McLean and other local officials to ensure short-term support is available -- but he also wants to address the longer-term needs of the region.

Donaldson says the people of the northwest are doing an incredible job of supporting those who have been forced from their homes by the inferno.

"Doug-Donaldson-2014-2.jpegI just am so impressed with the support that the communities have provided to each other, people in Dease Lake, people in Telegraph, in Iskut, in Terrace, in Smithers, and also the support they provided to the Wildfire Service -- I was on the phone last night with one of our senior people there and he said he hasn't seen anything like it in his 30-year career the amount of support he's getting from the community," Donaldson said from Burns Lake Wednesday, after he and Farnworth took an aerial tour of the fires burning in the Lakes District.

Reception centres have been set up at Dease Lake and Terrace, while communities such as Iskut and Kitsumkalum have also arranged places for Telegraph Creek residents to stay during the emergency.

Donaldson says this year is shaping up to be an even worse year for fires than last year's record-setting season. 

He says we're already well ahead of the pace set to this point a year ago -- and the blazes are much more spread out across the province, with Fires of Note in each of BC's six fire regions.

Provincial Emergency Coordination Centres have opened in Terrace and Kamloops to help deal with the situation throughout the province.


[PHOTO:   Telegraph Creek Wildfire -- Shannon Frank/Facebook]

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