At a time when all levels of government are acknowledging climate change is making natural disasters of all kinds more severe, cuts to emergency response groups do not make sense.
Although the closure of the accommodation and catering services at the RapAttack base in Salmon Arm may seem minor, now is not the time to do anything which might impede response time.
The RapAttack base is well placed given its remote, mountainous terrain and, of course, its history with wildfires.
With the firefighters who have been housed at the base in the past now having to seek rental housing in the region, concerns have been raised about availability in a rental market which is challenging in the summer. There is a real risk of skilled firefighters seeking an alternate posting if they are unable to find rental accommodations.
Off-base living is also sure to slow response time when compared to the on-base barracks.
In May, Premier Christy Clark spoke about the need for a national forest fire plan in response to the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire. That fire, like any other, began with a single spark which was allowed to grow. Every effort should be made and no expense should be spared in accommodating groups, like RapAttack, which are able to stop fires before they get out of control.
Although closing the RapAttack barracks may save some dollars, the unforeseen costs could be greater.
— Black Press