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‘It is likely to be a bad forest fire season:’ Prime Minister visits Okanagan

The PM met with local first responders and elected officials at Fire Hall #31

With wildfire season already underway in B.C., there were no promises of funding or assistance from the Prime Minister when he visited the Central Okanagan on Friday (May 10).

During a stop at a West Kelowna fire hall, the PM did mention the federal government’s doubling of the volunteer firefighter tax credit and $800,000 for wildfire training and to increase the capacity of structural firefighters across the country.

@kelownacapnews PM Justin Trudeau visits West Kelowna to discuss wildfire risk management. May 10,2024. More at #justintrudeau #kelowna #westkelowna #wildfire #climatechange ♬ original sound - Kelowna Capital News

Those announcements were made in April in the 2024 Budget.

“It is likely to be a bad forest fire season,” Trudeau said. “We’re drawing on the lessons that everyone learned with such heroism last year to make sure we can do everything to minimize the impacts of wildfires that will be coming this summer.”

The prime minister also referenced the $175 million provided to Indigenous communities for emergency response and preparedness, also announced in April.

“We’re in a situation right now where people are worried about what the summer might bring, people are worried about what the future might hold for themselves, for next generations.”

Trudeau also met with Central Okanagan mayors, first responders, and families who lost their homes in the McDougal Creek wildfire.

“We talked about their situations, we talked about the loss of so much…but also the need for continued support…as they rebuild their lives.”

He also said the government is working on better coordination between federal, provincial, emergency, and local support agencies.

“Making a huge impact right in the moments of the emergencies and the evacuations and further down the line as we need to rebuild and recover.”

Trudeau encouraged all Canadians to do everything they could to help keep their communities safe from wildfires.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited with local first responders in West Kelowna today (May 10).

Trudeau stopped in at Fire Hall #31 and spoke with Fire Chief Jason Brolund about the devastation caused by last year’s McDougall Creek fire and wildfire mitigation.

The prime minister was accompanied by Minister of Emergency Preparedness Harjit Sajjan during the visit.

READ MORE: ‘Pulling together in terrifying times’: Trudeau visits wildfire impacted Okanagan

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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