Rancher wants wildfire inquiry

Rancher John Moon called on the Cariboo’s two MLAs Friday to push for an inquiry into last year’s wildfires — specifically wildfire management and financial compensation for affected ranchers.

A rancher looks on as Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson speaks at the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association meeting Friday.

A rancher looks on as Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson speaks at the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association meeting Friday.

Rancher John Moon called on the Cariboo’s two MLAs Friday to push for an inquiry into last year’s wildfires — specifically wildfire management and financial compensation for affected ranchers.

Moon made the request Friday at the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association’s meeting where members passed the motion unanimously.

“I feel this issue is gradually sliding away,” Moon said.

“There needs to be more focus. What has happened is a disgrace and is scandalous.”

Moon estimates he lost $378,000 as a result of last year’s fires.

“The financial impact to all is a calamity and needs to be viewed in the context of a disaster,” he said.

Moon charged that fire management was blighted by a lack of preparedness, delay and a focus on structure loss.

Both Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson and Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett promised to work together to take the request to the provincial government.

“I know there are issues out there that have been resolved and issues out there that haven’t been resolved,” Barnett said.

When contacted later, Barnett indicated she had forwarded the resolution to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

She couldn’t comment specifically on any activities that are being undertaken by the ministries on the ground but noted that the Ministry of Forests had been involved in both seeding and fencing activities.

Barnett was also hesitant to say whether the government would pursue an inquiry.

“I can’t answer that,” she said. “Honestly I have no answer.”

The association further moved for its directors to meet with members of the local fire centre.

Williams Lake Tribune