Ground-breaking for new fire centre

By Contributor
June 8th, 2010

The new $1.9-million Arrow Fire Zone Base will improve the province’s response to wildfires, Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater announced during a groundbreaking ceremony today.

“Currently, the zone’s fire protection officers are in Castlegar, while wildfire crews and equipment are in the town of Brilliant – about a 10-minute drive away,” said Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell. “When it comes to fighting wildfires, every minute counts. Stationing our staff and equipment in one location will improve coordination and response times.”

The new two-storey, 540-square-metre (5,800-square-foot) fire base will be strategically located near major intersections on Highway 3A. The facility will incorporate environmentally friendly elements, including solar energy and use of pine beetle-killed wood pellets for heating and hot water. The building also reflects the Province’s Wood First policy that requires wood be the primary building material in provincially funded buildings.

“Construction will wrap up before the 2011 fire season,” said Slater. “The property surrounding the base will also be used as a FireSmart demonstration project to educate area homeowners on how they can protect their own properties from damage due to wildfire.”

Improvements to the Williams Lake and Castlegar Airtanker Bases are also underway. These capital upgrades have been funded from a $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the Province to create up to 88,000 jobs and build vital public infrastructure in every region of B.C.

The Arrow Zone is one of six zones in the Southeast Fire Centre and is bounded by Glacier National park in the north, the Duncan, Slocan and Nelson ranges in the east, the U.S. border in the south and Monashee mountains in the west.

Since April 1, fire crews have responded to more than 249 fires across the province, 235 of which were person-caused. The public is reminded that anyone found in contravention of a burning restriction can be fined up to $345 or held responsible for suppression costs if their negligence results in a wildfire.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on your cell or 1 800 663-5555.

For more information on open fire prohibitions, area restrictions or for updates on current wildfire activity, visit www.bcwildfire.ca.


Categories: General


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