Firefighting efforts in the North Shuswap are being frustrated by people removing equipment.
In a public plea issued Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), and shared by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), said in the North Shuswap a number of pumps, sprinklers, hoses and ATVs have been taken, “critically impacting the effectiveness of structural protection. “
“Gear that would protect dozens of homes is being moved to the areas that are ineffective and compromising structure protection plans,” said the BCWS. “Some of the gear has disappeared entirely and is suspected to be stolen.”
Sprinklers, pumps, and hoses set up on the wooden Scotch Creek bridge have been removed and taken three separate times, said the BCWS, adding “this bridge must be protected to allow safe access into and out of the area.”
The BCWS stressed equipment is positioned by structure protection experts where it is most effective and will cover the largest area, and said an increased RCMP presence is actively addressing the issue of stolen equipment.
“We need the community and the public’s support while residents are evacuated,” said the BCWS. “If you are remaining in the area and see any criminal activity, please report it to the RCMP immediately…
“The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is making every effort to keep the evacuated areas safe, but we need the public’s help in not creating opportunities for theft…
“We appreciate the level of community support on the ground. Please work together as a community to ensure all response is coordinated, safe and effective.”