RCMP Thanks Fire-Impacted Communities
Prince George, B.C. – The 2017 wildfire season was the worst on record in British Columbia and the head of the RCMP in the province has issued an open letter of thanks to all communities that were impacted by the fire storm.
Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP, says “from the moment the province declared a State of Emergency on July 7, 2017 we knew there would be long days. Few predicted those long days would stretch out over several months.”
“The challenges the wildfires presented were unprecedented with 65,000 British Columbians forced to evacuate. This has been our longest and largest emergency support operation. Over 4,400 police officers and civilian employees worked to ensure public safety during these wildfires. At the peak of the crisis, approximately 600 officers were deployed out to the affected communities.”
“Logistics presented significant challenges, such as how to get ten police officers to a rural area suddenly threatened by fires, five hours away and then safely evacuate residents and pets, while ensuring officers had their own evacuation routes. We patrolled evacuated communities around the clock and established checkpoints to ensure the safety of homes, properties and animals that had to be left behind.”
Butterworth-Carr says “we often needed assistance, and throughout the crisis we were deeply touched as people generously responded, in many cases before they were even asked. Residents and business owners assisted with evacuations, gas stations remained open so we could fuel our police vehicles, coffee or pizza was provided to those manning the checkpoints. We’ve used the word unprecedented many times throughout this wildfire crisis, but it equally applies to the manner in which our police officers and employees were treated, with unprecedented kindness and support which is simply remarkable.”
“Ensuring that the public was kept safe took the commitment and dedication of many people and organizations. We would not have been able to accomplish this without your support. We know policing cannot be done in isolation.”
She thanked “municipal police agencies who work with us as part of our integrated teams, such as our Tactical Troops, who joined in the effort, including our colleagues at CFSEU-BC. In addition the BC Conservation Service, BC Sheriffs, Commercial Vehicle Safety Officers and local Search and Rescue personnel provided invaluable support and expertise.”
Butterworth-Carr concludes by saying “On behalf of the BC RCMP I want to express my appreciation and sincere gratitude for your dedication to your communities. We remain ready to continue to provide our support and engagement to ensure public safety and security for all.”
The City and residents of Prince George took in more than 10,000 fire evacuees during the height of the wildfire outbreak, and a big celebratory party is being held at the Canada Games Plaza from 4 to 9:30 pm tonight to say thanks. There’s a free barbecue throughout the event and there will be some great music from Barney Bentall from 6 to 7 pm and then Glass Tiger starting at 8 pm.
Everyone is welcome.