On July 7th, a lightning storm struck dry forests and hundreds of wildfires broke out across BC. Fuelled by pine beetle kill and dry weather, the fires spread quickly and burned intensely, prompting the BC government to declare a state of emergency.
Our community's response was an extraordinary demonstration of local knowledge, organization, collaboration and capability.
community response to kleena kleene fire
- In the initial stages, government response focussed on interface fires (fires that were threatening large populations) and due to overwhelming need in the province, there were little to no resources available to be sent our way.
- The Kleena Kleene fire spread quickly through the vast forests surrounding us, becoming a threat to homes and ranches in our remote community.
- On July 9th, residents from Tatla Communities came together to form a community fire brigade, led by our local Search and Rescue team.
- Using their own equipment – excavators, tractors, pick up trucks, pumps and a helicopter - local residents mobilized command centres and support teams and a firefighting crew, working from sunrise until late at night to create breaks on the front line of the fire.
- The crew was joined by the neighbouring Tsi Del Del First Nation and together they were able to respond effectively to an ever changing, intense set of fires.
- The first official fire crew was sent to us on July 15th, 2017.
- Our volunteer local firefighters worked alongside the official fire crew for approximately one week, until more personnel arrived and our fire became part of the province-wide effort.
- Our trained and certified local firefighters worked on the fires for 3 months – several of them working for 90 consecutive days
toronto globe and mail
The Toronto Globe and Mail picked up our story and published this article on July 17, 2017.
by MIRIAM KATAWAZI
Communities in the Tatla Lake area have helped build fire guards using bulldozers, and watered homes and ranches with trucks in Kleena Kleene, a small village of about 20 people.
Residents were forced to use their own bulldozers, trucks, pumps and even a helicopter to fight off a wildfire in the small community of Kleena Kleene, as the BC Wildfire Service struggles to combat the scores of wildfires in the province.... read full article