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HomeMiscellanySouvenir hats for a record wildfire season, but NDP dawdles on reviewing disaster response

Souvenir hats for a record wildfire season, but NDP dawdles on reviewing disaster response

Bob Mackin

The NDP government has yet to order an inquiry into the former BC Liberal government’s preparations for the 2017 wildfire season, or its own performance during the first weeks of John Horgan’s premiership. 

But it is ordering 2,000 baseball caps as souvenirs of British Columbia’s worst wildfire season on record. 

Yes, souvenir hats. 

The B.C. Wildfire Service advertised on the B.C. Bid procurement website, seeking quotes for 2,000 embroidered navy FlexFit cotton blend caps, with the BCWS logo on front and “B.C. Wildfires 2017” on the back. 

Deadline for bids was Nov. 7.

Spokesman Jeremy Uppenborn said the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development wouldn’t comment on the budget until after bids are received and a contractor is chosen. Uppenborn said the government gave mementoes, such as plaques, coins and pins, in previous years, but did not provide any examples. 

Who will get them? 

“Those that gave significant time working on the fires for BCWS, including employees, out of province/country crews, etc.,” said Uppenborn by email. “Some agencies that provided support will receive plaques for their contribution to the fire season.”

The government is also seeking a contractor to perform an economic impact assessment. Uppenborn said an independent, external review of BCWS and Emergency Management B.C. is expected, but a “decision is still being made” about who will conduct the review. 

Former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon led a review of the 2003 wildfire season. 

Survivors of the Plateau and Elephant Hill wildfires told theBreaker that structural protection crews failed to save their buildings from wildfires.