British Columbia Premier John Horgan photographs the Philpott Road fire east of Kelowna, B.C., as he toured the area via helicopter Monday.—Image credit: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

British Columbia Premier John Horgan photographs the Philpott Road fire east of Kelowna, B.C., as he toured the area via helicopter Monday.—Image credit: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Premier hails ‘extraordinary’ effort by fire crews

John Horgan flew over Philpott Road fire after touring fire-ravaged areas in Central B.C.

B.C. Premier John Horgan is paying tribute to firefighters, emergency personnel and everyday British Columbians for the way they have responded to the wildfires that have burned large swaths of B.C. this summer.

After touring areas in Central B.C., Horgan flew over the Philpott Road fire east of Kelowna Monday and said he is impressed by both by the effort of the firefighters and of ordinary British Columbians who have gone out of their way to help others.

“My first message is to all who have stepped up to help is thank you,” said Horgan.

Horgan said he felt proud as he watched from the air the “extraordinary” effort of fire crews fighting the Philpott Road wildfire. He said he decided to come here and see for himself after seeing the images of huge clouds of smoke from the blaze on the Internet.

At last report the Philpott Road fire was 460 hectares in size and 20 per cent contained. While many of the 1,100 area residents who were evacuated Friday have been allowed to return to their homes, there are still 360 who are under an evacuation order.

According to Drive B.C., Highway 33 is once again closed as of 12:20 p.m. on Thursday.

Horgan added he was moved by a meeting he had with two women from the Ashcroft First Nation who lost their homes in the fire there and then by walking through the mobile home park in Boston Flats where virtually everything was wiped out by the flames.

“Walking through the skeletal remains of mobile homes and then coming across just two that are still standing was almost eerie,” he said.

Later Horgan visited evacuation centres and he said he noted the number of people from other parts of the world who were there to help.

“They come here because when this type of thing happens elsewhere, British Columbians are the first to go there to help,” he said.

The cost of fighting wildfires in B.C. this summer is now running close to $500 million and that will have an impact on the upcoming provincial budget, with the annual wildfire season a long way from over.

But Horgan said in discussing the matter with Finance Minister Carole James, he was told the province will be able to financially weather the firestorm. The province expects it will receive federal money to help offset some of the the costs of fighting the wildfires this summer.

But, the premier added, fire suppression is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the total cost of the wildfires. Damage done and losses will runs into the many millions of dollars. This year has been the worst fire season on record in B.C.

Horgan also did not mince words when it came to his view of smokers who throw cigarette butts out the windows of their moving vehicles.

Calling people who do that “dumb boneheads,” he said there will be a crackdown on such dangerous behaviour and anyone found caught doing it will be prosecuted and, if found guilty, heavily fined.

“We don’t need any more boneheads,” said Horgan.

Just Posted

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

Michelle St. Pierre, UBCO’s 2021 graduate student researcher of the year, is hoping to change the discussion surrounding the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. (UBCO photo)
UBCO researcher examining therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs

Michelle St. Pierre has been researching the use of psychedelics since 2015

The community is rallying around Phil Hotzon who needs a new electric tricycle. (Contributed)
Tricycle for Phil: Support pours in for Kelowna man with traumatic brain injury

Phil Hotzon lost his electric tricycle after falling into Mill Creek, fundraiser aims to replace it

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Dogs can understand some English

Your morning start for Wednesday, May 12, 2021

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read