Councillor Statement: Wildfire Near, Evacuation of CBMES/CRCEC
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2018
COUNCILLOR STATEMENT: WILDFIRE NEAR, EVACUATION OF CBMES/CRCEC
Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, Treaty 6 – The following statement was released today by Kevin Seesequasis, Councillor in charge of Emergency Management after the wildfire near Chief Beardy Memorial Elementary School and Constable Robin Cameron Education Complex:
“Today at approximately 1pm, a wildfire was reported just north of the CBMES and CRCEC. Earlier in the day, the BOCN Fire Department was conducting controlled-burns in the area. Unfortunately, after a controlled burn was conducted and thought-to-be extinguished, a rabbit-on-fire (yes, this is true) lit another adjacent section of bush and caught fire. The fire quickly grew in size and the Fire Department responded immediately and appropriately.
Due to the size and proximity of the fire, the Fire Chief determined it was necessary to evacuate both the CBMES and CRCEC. Emergency Management and Education staff worked in conjunction to ensure the safety of our students and were evacuated successfully without incident.
As with anything, experience has a funny way of being a really effective teacher. Today, we kick-off Emergency Preparedness Week and this was certainly a good way to start our week, and test our skills. As with all things, there are undoubtedly lessons to be learned. I will immediately convene a meeting to identify those lessons, and work with our staff to ensure that the lessons learned from this incident are adopted into future situations.
Effective immediately, the fire ban is still in effect for the entirety of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation – only the Fire Department will be allowed to conduct controlled-burns. Fireguards are being put in place around the schools, and additional controlled-burns will be conducted in the immediate vicinity to prevent this type of situation from occurring again.
If you or your children are experiencing difficulty breathing as a result of the smoke, I urge you to contact Willow Cree Health Services immediately and seek medical attention.
As I close, I wish to acknowledge the assistance of all the teaching and support staff at CBMES and CRCEC who worked to keep our kids safe and calm their fears; the Fire Crew who put themselves in harms way to keep others safe and bring this fire under control; the Emergency Management staff for working to coordinate support and resources; the bus drivers who responded quickly and brought our children home safe; the staff at Willow Cree Health who provided masks and water to students; our Public Works staff who provided support for our Fire Department; and so many other countless individuals and volunteers who worked diligently to ensure the safety of our students.
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