Three City of Maple Ridge staff who are part of the Emergency Operations Centre team, as well as Emergency Support Service volunteers were able to get frontline experience assisting other communities as part of the ongoing B.C. wildfire response.
In addition, the Ridge Meadows RCMP Detachment deployed members to other areas of the province to deal with the large scale evacuation orders.
“The City of Maple Ridge was very proud to be able to free up staff and volunteers to assist other communities as the province deals with impacts of the wildfires,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.
“Each person who was deployed to the Interior has incredible stories about the competence and resolve of the professionals working to fight fires and manage the evacuations. They were moved by the generosity of citizens who were asked to remain in their communities to provide food, lodging and technical expertise to the frontline responders.”
Read reached out to mayors of communities in the Caribou Regional District to offer support early on.
“Two of our staff deployed to the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre in Williams Lake and their stories and experiences reflect the urgency of the situation expressed by the people I spoke to,” she said.
Maple Ridge has also freed up resources, such as portable cots and mattresses, to assist in the province-wide, if required.
“The costs of loaning staff and other resources are recovered as part of the provincial response. However, the experience that our staff has gained and the information they bring back to our city are invaluable as we constantly update our emergency planning protocols and training,” said Maple Ridge CAO Ted Swabey.
“This is just the beginning of what could be a very challenging year for wildfires in B.C.” added Mayor Read.
“I know that people have been opening their homes to family and friends from the evacuation zones. There have been fundraisers by so many individuals and organizations that reflect the generosity of our citizens. As a city, we will continue to monitor the situation around the province and stand ready to assist where our expertise and resources are needed.”