Residents in rural areas outside of Merritt have been notified by their local government that their fire protection service will be suspended for an undetermined amount of time.
“Effective immediately, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has made the difficult decision to suspend fire protection services (exterior operations – structural) until further notice in the Lower Nicola area,” the regional district wrote in a press release.
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Fire protection services for impacted properties have been previously provided through a contract with the Lower Nicola Indian Band but the band’s fire department does not “have the capacity to respond to fire calls outside of their own community,” the regional district said.
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The impacted service area includes TNRD properties in Electoral Areas M and N, which are Beautiful Nicola Valley – North and Beautiful Nicola Valley – South, including Lower Nicola, Miller Estates, Canford and a number of properties further southeast, including parts of Petit Creek Road, Cummings Road and Jack Swartz Forest Service Road.
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The TNRD said it provided notice by mail to impacted properties and will be assessing options to resume fire protection services as soon as possible in compliance with provincial requirements by the province.
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In the June Lower Nicola Indian Band newsletter, there is a job posting for four full-time firefighting positions.
Residents with an emergency are asked to continue to call 911. BC Ambulance and RCMP will continue to respond to emergencies in the affected areas and BC Wildfire Service will also continue to respond to wildfires in this area.
To report a wildfire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a mobile phone.
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