Community Meeting Minutes
Dease Lake Community Hall
August 24th, 2018
Start time: 8:00 pm
Chief McLean, Tahltan Band Council
– Open w/moment of silence and prayer for Woods family
– Nations united, people of all walks here to help – life revolves around hope, holding each other up when weak; remember the stranger who walked into our offices saying “I’m here to help”
– Danger from fire is now added to by other hazards…slope stability, hazard trees; much to consider and many assessments to do to ensure the return home is approached in a safe manner.
– Path home will not be quick and easy; and it will be hard to see desolation in one’s home community.
– Road remains closed, but traffic is now getting through for essential fire crews and assessment workers.
– convoys and controlled access will be first steps, bringing assessors and engineers in
– working with Ministry of Transportation and other partners to ensuring that safety is first priority going in and out of TC
– EOC staffed by Tahltan, RD and EMBC staff under Feddie Louie as Director
– Tahltan members who are unable to work due to evacuation are encouraged to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits using the following wildfire reference code: 5986015986598600. Call 1-800-206-7218 for more information
– we will continue to keep you informed as best we can
– ESS services are ongoing – mental health, home care, cultural and educational opportunities; in Dease as well as Smithers, Terrace, Iskut and Whitehors
– Consult Band web site as well as Facebook for more details
– Community meetings have been taking place every two days; moving now to every four days, though individual meetings will be ongoing
– Housing along with education is a priority now, as the school year approaches
– rews continue to work around the clock; not only fire but heavy equipment, band and EOC staff and others striving to support members
– Do not consume water order in Telegraph remains in plac
– Iskut meeting was postponed until Monday to allow support for families experiencing loss; funeral service for Lorraine at 1, dinner to follow at 5; the need to take care of people who pass on has not stopped.
– It’s time to lean on each other, and be supported by community; we give thanks for that.
– Other communities are going through the same tough times, but we should give them the same support we have received.
Hugh Murdock, incident commander for BC Wildfire operations
– This fire got a lot of attention owing to smoke and flame; this new chapter is a harder one to get through
– I work on these fires for a living; other less familiar faces here do this as well; but this is uncharted waters for most around here; need to understand that in a time like this, a community needs to put its energy in the right direction and make it positive for all
– Rebuilding a community will involve cleaning up the mess first
– Fire is still growing, though away from critical areas and structures that are protected by equipment
– Road to the community is a lifeline, and BCWS recognizes that; meet with leadership regularly; everyone’s goal is re-entry, as soon as possible
– Two rollover accidents this week, on this and another fire….safety needs to be a top priority
– Most resources being concentrated near Glenora in south end; medium (bucket) and heavy helicopters were grounded by smoke yesterday and fire grew; today was better, helicopters flew; made progress, putting in machine guards, resourced adequately
– Three heavy helicopters working on this fire…one had been released, but those are 3 of only 13 heavy helicopters in BC; for context, Kimberley has a 22 person incident team and 22 firefighters
– Mother nature is helping, but it will be weeks until BCWS has no presence here; FLNRO will also maintain presence for hillside stability, rehab as guards, geotech on Wednesday
– It’s the effort and personality of the community that has been – and will be pulling everyone through, and everyone is to be congratulated for that
Chad Day, President, Tahltan Central Government
– The flight over Telegraph was tough today
– Gone the past week, up to the northwest to address the elders in Terrace, Smithers and Prince Rupert; busy with our people and working with government down south; hearts are with others who were evacuated from Lower Post. Reached out to those up there and returned the donation and services to the people that had freely given before; we are in this emergency situation together
– Some other updates – commendations to those who continue to work on the ground; some are frustrated and think things could have been done better, but there will be a time and a place for those things, but now is the time for positivity
– Thanks to the volunteers, here and elsewhere; a special shout out to the folks doing their best every day in Terrace
– Press release to come out tomorrow, further payments to TC evacuees, thanks to the donors and a hefty contribution from the Tahltan Band; not possible to live off government supports, help is on the way
– Concerns about wildlife, increased animals on the highway…goats, lots of things going on with wildlife; press release out with a request to ban hunting on Tahltan territory for the time being; respectfully asking people not to come into this territory; guardians will be back on the job next week to discourage hunting, and ensure those who do are following rules and regulations; looking ahead at this a couple of weeks ago, and working hard to make address those issues
– The TCG team is working together, things are getting better every day; the best Tahltan and non-Tahltan consultants are working together, and we have a strong collaborative team that will come together and work this out as Tahltan people do
– Safety assessment in TC for RCMP op; within 48 hours, there will be 24/7 RCMP presence in community- working in close collaboration with Feddie and Chief Rick
– Any inquiries are welcome at RCMP office; will work with EOC to put out a press release when presence is re-established
Chief McLean – thanks for coming out, next community meeting in Dease Lake will take place on August 28th at 8:00