The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is asking for the public’s feedback on how emergency officials responded to an active and destructive 2021 wildfire season.
The RDOS has launched a Public and Evacuee Survey, open until Friday, Oct. 29, as part of its review process to analyze what happened and determine how improvements can be made.
Read more: Firefighters protect Shrike Hill homes from ‘aggressive and unpredictable’ Nk’Mip Creek wildfire
While the BC Wildfire Service and local fire departments fight to control the wildfires, local governments are responsible for issuing evacuation orders and alerts, and supporting evacuees.
Residents of 1,000 properties were displaced across the RDOS, which stretches from rural Summerland to rural Oliver/Osoyoos to as far as the outlying areas around Princeton, B.C.
“Information gathered from the survey will assist with making recommendations to enhance operations and emergency response capacity, and complete a master plan to address issues that arose during the response,” the regional district said in a statement.
“The survey will review the overall response effort to the 2021 wildfires and is not designed to evaluate the individual performance of those involved in supporting response operations.”
Read more: Shrike Hill Road residents come face-to-face with volatile Nk’Mip Creek wildfire near Oliver, B.C.
Several noteworthy fires ignited in the South Okanagan, including the Nk’Mip blaze that broke out July 19, north of Osoyoos, and grew to nearly 200 square kms before being contained.
At least one home in the Shrike Hill neighbourhood was lost.
The busy fire season began July 11 as the Thomas Creek wildfire flared northeast of Okanagan Falls.
The Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton was the last major wildfire to ignite in the region, threatening a luxury hillside residential development.
No homes were lost and the Penticton Indian Band issued an evacuation alert for 240 properties as a precaution.
For the 2021 fire season in B.C. as a whole, 1,585 wildfires burned 868,619 hectares.
At the height of the summer, more than 3,600 personnel were helping fight the fires, including help from Mexico, Australia and across Canada.
The provincial government says about 32,000 people were displaced by the fires.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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