Mount Christie fire in Penticton August 2020. (BC Wildfire Service)

Mount Christie fire in Penticton August 2020. (BC Wildfire Service)

Lessons learned from the Christie Mountain fire in Penticton

Report outlines where improvements can be made next time there is a wildfire

The lessons that were learned from the Christie Mountain fire were collected into a single report.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen was presented with the after-action report on Feb. 4 on the wildfire and the response to it.

Ally Emergency Management provided the report, which gathered the input of over 500 people.

The fire was discovered on Aug 18, 2020, and forced evacuation alerts and orders that affected over 4,000 homes, all while the RDOS was in the middle of dealing with the ransom-ware attack on their IT network.

COVID-19 made fighting the fire even more difficult, with over 200 firefighters from 50 departments and the BC Wildfire Service attacking the fire. At its peak, the fire spread out over more than 2,000 hectares of land.

One of the successes in the report was that the fire did not result in a loss of life, and only one home was lost to the fire.

The report listed 10 major items of importance with attached recommendations that had come up repeatedly during the after-action investigation.

  • Establishing a joint Emergency Operations Centre between the City of Penticton and the RDOS
  • There was a shortage of liaison officers during the fire, particularly for coordinating with BC Wildfire, and they lacked standards of procedure and training. More, trained, multi-agency liaisons are needed.
  • There were times where the number of agencies involved in the situation made communication difficult, and the recommendation is for a multi-agency training session and development of communication protocols.
  • Provide better guidelines for the volunteers who staff the Emergency Reception Centre to provide better communication and understanding.
  • Improve training and develop better multi-agency training exercise programs.
  • Expand the training and inclusion of disaster psychosocial services for future incidents.
  • Build a team specifically to consider and manage how COVID-19 impacts large-scale events and responses.
  • Develop redundant and stand-alone systems, in case of potential further cyberattacks.
  • Continue training with the Evacuation Registration and Assistance program as it is updated by Emergency Management British Columbia.
  • Quick wins such as adding an additional laptop, better identifying reception centre leadership, assembling go-bags for liaison officers and identifying vendors who could produce and deliver food to responders.

The fire was declared no longer an imminent threat to residents on Aug. 31 by the RDOS’s Emergency Operations Centre, and the after-action report noted that some of the areas identified for improvement might have been resolved if the situation had continued.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Residents of Rural Keremeos, Olalla and Hedley are being asked to give feedback for the first Official Community Plan for the area. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Survey on RDOS Area G OCP open until April 30

The area’s first Official Community Plan is in the early stages of development

Nominally 'flushable' wipes caused one of Keremeos lift stations to shut down, damaging the pump inside. The Village is asking residents not to flush anything that isn't human waste. (Black Press)
Keremeos reminds residents not to flush wipes after pump damaged

‘Flushable’ wipes caused the pump to seize up and burn out

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Lowering the flags is official protocol following the death of a member of the British Royal Family, according to Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne. (Spotlight photo)
Town flags lowered out of respect for Prince Phillip

The practice follows official protocol when a member of the British Royal Family dies.

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Most Read