West Kelowna’s fire chief has heaped praise on the RCMP for its response and assistance in dealing with the three wildfires in the Central Okanagan.
“We’ve asked a lot of the members of the RCMP throughout this incident,” said Jason Brolund. “When we first started evacuating properties, they were the ones running door to door getting people out of harm’s way.”
In the midst of the firefight, Brolund said members from officers to detectives and management staff stood with them, going as far as to fight spot fires themselves.
“I received some photos from Staff Sgt. Dixon in West Kelowna of his members fighting a fire with a garden hose. We firefighters live here and we’re committed to the community, well so are the RCMP members out there, in many cases doing the same type of work.”
While there have been no confirmed property crimes during wildfire evacuations, Kelowna Supt. Kara Triance expects her officers will eventually deal with some files.
“I am not ignorant to the fact that there will be some that will come as people return to their properties,” said Triance during a regional wildfire update Wednesday (Aug. 22).
Triance added that the RCMP is not able to hold every line and encouraged residents that if they see something to say something.
“If on your home cameras, you are observing somebody behind an evacuated ordered area please call 911. We’ve had police officers engage with individuals accessing the area in unauthorized ways and those individuals have either been arrested or escorted out depending on their intentions and actions behind the lines.”
She is also asking for cooperation from the public in respecting police roadblocks and checkpoints.
“Where we’ve had individuals run roadblocks and blast past police officers we’ve had to take enforcement action, and that’s the last thing we want to be doing in these cases. We know emotions are running high and we know it’s a tough time for many people. I can assure you these orders are in place for the safety and security of all communities.”