British Columbia

New Cariboo Regional District chair to take over wildfire recovery in the region

Margo Wagner plans on working with the provincial government to start allowing companies to salvage wood damaged during this summer's wildfires.

Margo Wagner is replacing Al Richmond as the chair of the Cariboo Regional District

Margo Wagner will be taking over the role of advocating for recovery efforts after this summer's devastating wildfires. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

The new chair of the Cariboo Regional District is wasting no time when it comes to taking on the challenge of helping the region rebuild from this summer's wildfires.

Margo Wagner, representative for Canim Lake-Forest Grove, was voted in as the new chair on Friday after former chair Al Richmond turned down the nomination.

"I saw it as a tremendous challenge," said Wagner.

"I have the greatest respect for Al Richmond and he has done a phenomenal job and I have to say he's been a really strong mentor for me."

Richmond served as the chair of the board for nine years and was one of the primary spokespeople for the region during the devastating wildfires that swept across the region. 

Margo Wagner will be taking on the role of chair for the Cariboo Regional District. (Cariboo Regional Distict)

Accessing salvage timber

Wagner plans on meeting with the Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Doug Donaldson.

She says she has heard from companies like Tolko and West Fraser Mills that they want to get back into the forests to start harvesting salvage timber because fire-damage wood needs to be logged within 18 months in order to still be usable.

In addition to the economic need for this, she said there was emotional need to start the recovery process.

"We can't really get on with the recovery mentally until we get rid of the burnt logs," Wagner said.

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said he was surprised when Richmond turned down the nomination.

Cobb worked alongside Richmond during this summer's wildfires and watched him coordinate all of the communications for the region.

"As chair, he had a responsibility and it was a huge responsibility," he said. "You do get burnt out."