Kootenay East MLA backs call for closure

MLAs Tom Shypitka and Doug Clovechok lobbying for backcountry closure due to wildfire risks

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka is echoing calls from his counterpart in the neighbouring riding to shut down off-road vehicle access to the backcountry due to wildfire risks.

Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok called for a backcountry closure in an interview with the Kimberley Bulletin earlier this week, saying that current conditions are tinder dry.

READ: MLA Clovechok calls for backcountry closure

Shypitka agreed with his Liberal Party colleague, noting that it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive when facing extreme wildfire conditions.

He says he’s been in regular contact with the Southeast Fire Centre for the last few weeks as conditions have worsened.

“I think it’s coming [off-road vehicle ban], I think you’ll probably see something in the next couple days and I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t,” Shypitka said.

He said the region has escaped relatively unscathed given the large fires that are burning up north in Kootenay National Park, the Sage Creek blaze in the South Country, and the Blazed Creek fire west of Creston.

“We’re surrounded by fires,” Shypitka said. “I don’t know why anyone would think we’re immune to a catastrophic event. We don’t want to freak people out or prematurely sound the alarm bells, but we see what our neighbours are going through, we’re having a heat wave right now — it’s into the 40s [degrees] today — the wind’s blowing and our sky is full of smoke.

“I don’t know if you need any more signs than that. I think that’s a pretty strong signal that we need to be conservative and shut it down.”

However, Shypitka also sympathized with concerns over shutting down backcountry access, pointing to differences in climate and conditions in the region. Shypitka said he was in both Elkford and Newgate on the same day recently and noted that conditions in Elkford were decent, while Newgate was bone-dry.

“So are we making our decisions on closures on the worst conditions in our area, or are we making decisions based on the average or what’s normal for the region? I don’t know.”

“…For a ban, or a closure, it’s a one-size-fits-all. It encompasses the whole region, but we’re so diverse that arguments can be made either way.”

The Kootenay East MLA says any closure decisions should be made based on the most conservative approach based from scientific data, which includes factors such as dew points, soil dryness, weather forecasts and historical weather data.

Just Posted

Dynamiters win Game 3, Nitehawks on brink of elimination

McDowell scores twice to lift Kimberley Dynamiters to a 3-0 series lead against the B.V. Nitehawks,

Last call for Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year entries

The deadline is Friday, April 12 at noon

Unofficially, Trail Smoke Eaters deserved better

Sports ‘n’ Things with Dave Thompson

Trail senior has her voice heard by Interior Health

At the end of the day, Rina is hoping that she was heard and that things will change

Morning Moon

If you have a recent photo to share, email it (large or actual) to editor@trailtimes.ca

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Most Read