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Unprecedented Wildfire Season Creates Need for Ongoing Coordination

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Communication, coordination, and cooperation are key themes at the Kamloops Emergency Response Coordination meetings that have been created in response to the unprecedented wildfire season the Interior is currently experiencing. 

The City of Kamloops, Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS), and Emergency Management BC (EMBC) have been meeting regularly since the beginning of July to share information and plan ways to work together to respond to the needs of residents forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfires . 

“Each of these organizations is working incredibly hard to support all of the communities that have been and continue to be impacted by these wildfires,” said Tammy Robertson, the City’s External Relations Manager. “The conversations have covered many things from capacity-building at each organization to evacuee support at all levels.”

Although the City, TNRD, TteS and EMBC each operate their own Emergency Operations Centre to support the residents within their boundaries, the services and compassion of each community are not limited by geography. For example, the City manages an Emergency Support Services (ESS) team , which involves a tremendous amount of volunteer power to operate. To date, these volunteers have helped over 3000 evacuees access services and supports. Many of these evacuees have found refuge at TteS, who welcome anyone who has been evacuated to the Kamloops Powwow grounds for meals, supplies, and a place to camp. They have served hundreds of evacuees and continue to provide them three meals a day .

“It really takes a community to weather a situation like we’re currently facing. The dedication of these organizations, as well as the hundreds of supporting volunteers and staff, will help us reach the other side and strengthen connections that will benefit the community for years to come,” said Robertson. 

Left to Right: Shane Wardrobe, Deputy EOC Director, Member Services, TteS; Wendy Heshka, Communications Manager, City; Kevin Skrepnek, Emergency Program Coordinator/EOC Director, TNRD; Dan Sutherland, Assistant Fire Chief, Emergency Program Coordinator, City; Councillor Justin Gottfriedson, Alternate EOC Director, TteS; Andrew Morrison, Senior Regional Manager, EMBC; David Trawin, Chief Administrative Officer, City; Tammy Robertson, External Relations Manager, City; Councillor Thomas Blank, EOC Director, TteS.