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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Regarding the MD of Pincher Creek Kenow wildfire debrief

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MD of Pincher Creek Kenow Wildfire
September 11, 2017

Five months following the Kenow Wildfire, ratepayers of the MD Pincher Creek Division 1 and others are not satisfied with our local government’s handling of the emergency prior to, during and following the event.

A Formal Inquiry is needed to address the ways and reasons the MD Pincher Creek failed its residents. Why was there no advance warning or evacuation, no accurate information or communication, no fire preparedness, no up-to-date MD maps or ratepayer contact information available for the use of RCMP during the evacuation?


Members of our community lost homes, ranch buildings and equipment, grazing land, hay, miles of fencing, tools, vehicles and water wells; they are unable to claim compensation for uninsurable losses because a local disaster/state of emergency was not declared by the MD. The MD has provided little to no acknowledgement of those losses and virtually no support for people dealing with the challenges of recovering from this natural disaster.

Our MD tax dollars are supporting emergency management training and planning by a consultant (who also authored the MD’s Kenow Wildfire Debrief document!) for thousands of dollars annually. The Alberta Emergency Management Agency offers it for free. The MD’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the Kenow Wildfire, especially given the amount of time leading up to the event shows that safety of MD residents is not their priority and our tax dollars are being misdirected.

To date there has not been an unbiased, comprehensive review of the MD’s management of the Kenow Wildfire. MD Pincher Creek ratepayers deserve to know how and why our local government did not plan for and respond appropriately to this disaster and to see evidence that future emergencies will be handled capably. Five months after the Kenow Wildfire a comprehensive ratepayer contact list and up-to-date MD maps have not been put in place to help facilitate future emergency evacuations.

Is my local government looking out for my safety?

Do they have the leadership, knowledge, and skills to do so effectively?

Can I trust them to do so when needed?

If you answer “NO” or “I DON’T KNOW” to any of the above questions or have other concerns please be pro-active and phone your MD Councillor. Answers are needed as to why the MD did not function as mandated to during the Kenow Wildfire emergency situation and what plans the MD has put in place to protect its residents when the next emergency situation occurs, whether flood, fire, train derailment, chemical spill, etc. in our MD. We need to ensure that sound decision-making and good governance is happening throughout our community.

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