Residents who lost homes in wildfires want answers, told to file FOI request
Pressy Lake residents are asking what protective measure were taken after 33 homes destroyed
Thirty-three homes burned to the ground this summer in Pressy Lake, B.C. and residents are still waiting for answers about what was done to protect the buildings in the two weeks between evacuation orders being issued and flames reaching the community.
Jackie Tegart, the Liberal MLA for Fraser-Nicola, went to Pressy Lake over the weekend to meet with residents.
She said that they have been told to file Freedom of Information requests to find out what, if anything, was done to protect their homes.
- Wildfire-ravaged Pressy Lake residents ask whether officials did enough to save homes
- Pressy Lake resident says not enough is being done with respect to the wild fires
"They are asking for basic reports and information in regards to the process at Pressy Lake and that should be public information," Tegart told CBC host ofRadio West Sarah Penton.
The B.C. Wildfire Service previously told Radio West that it is investigating the issue.
Looking for answers
The residents she met with, Tegart said, don't fault the first responders who fought the fires but want answers from the provincial government about what protective measures were taken.
"They have nothing but praise for the people who were on the front lines," she said.
"But they do have some concerns around whether there was structural protection. They are asking B.C. Wildfire [Service] and are being told that they should do a Freedom of Information [request]."
First steps for answers
Tegart brought up the issue during Question Period in the B.C. legislature on Thursday, asking for the information to be released.
She has since received a letter from the minister of Citizens' Services Jinny Sims about holding a meeting soon.
Tegart said she is optimistic as long as the information request is granted.
"The first step is to meet with the minister as soon as possible and make sure that she has that information for us and then we will move forward from there," Tegart said.
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio link below:
With files from Radio West.