Firefighter Raymundo Rosales, of Mexico, lies his tent at a camp of wildfire firefighters and staff at an outdoor sports field, in Fraser Lake, B.C., on Wednesday August 22, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Trudeau pledges to close gaps between cities, First Nations on wildfires

Municipalities work with province on wildfires, while First Nations are federal responsibility

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government needs to do a better job making sure First Nations have what they need to fight forest fires.

Trudeau acknowledged the gaps Thursday in resources for municipalities, which work with the province on wildfires, and First Nations, which fall under federal responsibility.

“Municipalities get resources from provinces, but when the neighbouring Indigenous community turns to the province: ‘Well, we need resources.’ ‘Well, you are a federal responsibility.’ We have to clear up those lines of flowing resources and ensuring people get what they need, regardless of whether they are in an Indigenous community or a non-Indigenous community,” he said.

He said things have improved since devastating wildfires in B.C. last year, but more work needs to be done to ensure everyone is equally protected.

“We need to make sure people are safe and that homes and livelihoods are protected. That’s something that we are very much working on and we will continue to. We made significant improvements, but … there’s still lots more to do.”

Trudeau left the federal cabinet meeting in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to travel to Prince George in central British Columbia to meet with those working to control some of the 563 wildfires that have charred more than 6,000-square-kilometres of the province. He met with fire protection officer Tom Reinboldt, Mayor Lyn Hall and local legislature member John Rustad, among others, in a boardroom at the local fire centre.

“Thank you for making it possible for me to come this morning. I absolutely didn’t want to disrupt anything, but I wanted to be able to thank everyone for the work they’re doing, and see and make sure everyone’s collaborating well, as I know they are,” Trudeau said.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

B.C. wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

He has tasked several members of the federal cabinet with co-ordinating support, recovery and rebuilding efforts as the federal and B.C. governments work together to assist those affected by the fires.

The wildfire danger map posted by the BC Wildfire Service showed a danger rating of extreme or high across most of the province and thousands were on evacuation alert or have already fled their homes. But cooler weather and possible showers were in the forecast, although officials warn there is a danger of lightning along with the rain.

Leaders in the tiny community of Lower Post near the Yukon boundary confirmed at a community meeting Wednesday night that three structures were lost as a 50-square-kilometre wildfire skipped through the middle of the village.

Other fires around the province prompted evacuation orders Wednesday, including for homes and cottages threatened by an aggressive blaze near MacGillivray, east of Pemberton.

Dense smoke from the fires continued to prompt air quality alerts across most of B.C. because of soaring levels of tiny bits of grit contained in the smoke. In Prince George, the air smelled strongly of smoke and a hazy grey hung in the sky.

The advisory for Metro Vancouver included ground level ozone, the smog created when emissions from vehicles and other sources react in sunlight and stagnant air.

— With files from CKRW

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mobile complaint team coming to B.C.’s northwest

Ombudsperson’s office wants to hear from wronged residents

Bears hyper-focused on feeding

Public urged to remove attractants as bears get ready for hibernation

Kool-Aid Man bails on Terrace and Kitimat mayoral race

Says he has accomplished goal of raising electoral awareness

Cannery Road Race returns with a bang

Approximately 150 people competed in 10 events after one year hiatus

55+ Games athletes compete for gold

70 athletes from Zone 10 are competing

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

New silver collector coin features Indigenous dancer

New silver collectors coin captures fast-paced energy of an Indigenous powwow

Several more days before salvage of barge can begin on Haida Gwaii

The barge and lodge broke away from their moorings in high winds on Sept. 8 and ran aground.

B.C. woman with autism has scooter stolen from SkyTrain station

Kayla Polege purchased scooter after ‘shutdowns’ on transit

Off Nova Scotia, a bid to ‘unravel the mystery’ of great white sharks

The question: Is Nova Scotia the second mating site for Atlantic white sharks, something scientists say could be key to protecting the endangered species.

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read