PRINCE GEORGE (August 9, 2017) – The BC NDP government needs to immediately tell ranchers they will receive compensation for any damage due to back burns.

“This is not about assigning blame, it is about accepting responsibility,” says John Rustad, the BC Liberal critic for Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “This is an extraordinary time in British Columbia and the forests minister, Doug Donaldson, shouldn’t be hiding behind how things used to be done. They can take the weight off the shoulders of these families by saying financial assistance will be coming.”

Back burns are an accepted tool in the B.C. Forest Service tool box but this year there have been unexpected problems, particularly around the Clinton area where the back burns have not gone as planned and caused extensive damage. Residents are concerned about the lingering effect.

“The families who have been directly impacted by these back burns will be dealing with these issues for months if not years,” says Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart. “This is their land and their livelihood and they’re rightly worried. What they don’t need is to also worry about the financial impact. Premier Horgan said he’d be there for people, it’s time for him to actually do it.”

BC Liberal MLAs Rustad, Tegart and Donna Barnett spent the B.C. Day Long Weekend touring the regions most devastated by forest fires and will continue to provide information to constituents.

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