Updating the Cortes Island Community Wildfire Protection Plan

This is a Cortes Currents news update, broadcast over Cortes Radio, CKTZ 89.5 FM and funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

Most Cortes residents have now received a questionnaire, about the Cortes Island Community Wildfire Protection Plan, through the mail. According to the records we possess, going back to 1950, Cortes hasn’t had a fire larger than 10 hectares in extent – but our climate is changing, wildfires are getting bigger and however unlikely it seems at the moment, we need to be prepared in case there is a major wildfire.

Courtesy Cortes Island Wildfire Protection Plan – SRD website

Surveys Due Sept 30th, 2020

“Residents still have a month to give their feedback, either electronically or through the letter they should have received through the mail,” said saidShaun Koopman, SRD protective services co-ordinator.

“There are a lot more in depth sessions I want to have with residents who are interested. That kind of depth juat could not be covered in the survey I sent out.” 

Sample Question

He added, “The last question in the survey, asking for marine muster points, is something I should probably have covered in a small in depth focus group. People aren’t understanding that question. In close to half the surveys that have come back, people are saying “Squirrel Cove dock,” “The government marina,” “Gorge Harbour” etc. 

“Marine muster points does not refer to the wharfs and docks, I already have those in the plan that I am updating. They are referring to the worst case scenario. If you can’t get to a dock or a ferry, and we are literally asking the Canadian Coast Guard to engage on a humanitarian initiative, what are some of the more common safe areas on the beach people could be directed to?”

“It is a very unlikely scenario, but is my job. I plan for all the unlikely scenarios.”

An online version of the survey is available at www.srd.ca/cortes-evacuation-survey 

Most major disasters were unlikely scenarios until they occurred. This is one example of the many seemingly insignificant bits of information that Koopman is collecting, which could save lives should there ever be a major wildfire.

Links of Interest:

Top photo credit: Forest Fire by J Bartlett Team Rubicon/BLM for USFS

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