BC government is planning to increase powers of authorities (RCMP) to remove residents from homes inside a fire zone. This is contentious to some.
Express your feelings in a POLL to the right. Many people have in the past stayed near their homes to save them or attempting to do so. The authorities in Emergency Measures Management want more power to ge people to a safe place away from a fire zone.
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A man who saved his home from the Rock Creek wildfire last August is calling a proposed amendment that would allow police to arrest those not following evacuation orders “ludicrous,” “stupid” and “just wrong.”
A discussion paper recently released by the provincial government recommends following Manitoba’s lead, in giving police greater authority in times of emergency.
This would include providing police with the right of entry to a home, which under usual circumstances requires a warrant, the use of reasonable force to enforce an evacuation order, and the authority of the province to force the apprehended individual to pay for the costs incurred in the arrest.
This past August, as the Rock Creek wildfire came barrelling down on his home, Michael Fenwick-Wilson, along with his neighbours, defied an evacuation order and saved their homes.
“We saved all of our houses and a huge amount of area that would have definitely burned. There’s no doubt about it, we definitely would have lost it,” Fenwick-Wilson said. “The police were, in my situation, quite good. They just took our names, and asked if we had a plan if things went bad, and we did.”
Fenwick-Wilson said the proposed changes to B.C.’s Emergency Program Act don’t make sense in rural areas like Rock Creek.
“We’re not in the city here where you’ve got fire trucks that can come help you out,” he said.
The discussion paper notes that when a person decides to ignore an evacuation order, it “can have serious implications not only for themselves, but also other people in the affected area,” like emergency crews.