Castlegar Council Discusses Lessons Learned Report on Merry Creek Fire

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On July 1st of this year the Merry Creek Wildfire broke out between Highway Three and Castlegar's Meadowbrook Drive, and on October 4th City Council went over some of what was learned. The Lessons Learned Report summarizes feedback heard from the public, council and staff regarding the City's response through the Emergency Operations Centre, in efforts to inform future planning.

While some were quick to defend staff's role during the incident, Councillor Cherryl MacLeod clarifies that you can still do a good job and work to improve for next time:

“….Like when I went to that IRIS meeting and asked those seniors up there they were thrilled, right? They got asked what their opinions were and I’m sure that they got shared in the mix…. That’s what people want to know is that we’re listening…. I’m not saying we did a bad job I’m just saying there’s always growth and so long as we’re on that curve and we’re going to keep trying to be better that’s all we can ask for….”

“You really can’t learn what went right and what didn’t unless you actually have the emergency it seems, it’s the only sure test, and if we weren’t going to listen to the feedback we wouldn’t have asked for it. So believe me we’re listening to it and we’re going to act on everything and we already have acted on quite a bit of stuff.” adds Mayor Kirk Duff.

Key areas for improvement include traffic control during the emergency, having an evacuation plan ready for those with mobility limitations and slow information-sharing specifically in the early stages.