Canada –– VANCOUVER The first water-dropping helicopter was en route to a fast-moving forest fire in British Columbias Okanagan Valley nearly half an hour after it was first reported, according to a timeline compiled by the provincial government, which says an initial review has found the response was fast and well co-ordinated.
The fire started in high winds just outside of Peachland on Sept. 9, causing 1,500 residents to flee and destroying four houses.
Newly released audio recordings of RCMP radio dispatches detailed the initial response, as Mounties on the ground called for help and at times appeared frustrated that firefighters were not on the scene sooner.
But the B.C. Forests Ministry says although its review largely confirmed the account gleaned from the audio recordings, it also indicates the response by provincial firefighters was appropriate in the circumstances.
An initial review by all responding agencies shows an excellent co-ordinated response. The ministry has received numerous compliments for its fast response to this fire, the ministry said in a fact sheet released this week.
Given the aggressive behaviour of this wildfire, public and first responder safety was of paramount importance. No injuries were reported during this incident.