Your front page story regarding the Halfmoon Bay forest fire that consumed six acres, resulting in the evacuation of some eight homes and another 50 being put on alert (“Controlled burn blamed for forest fire in Halfmoon Bay,” May 3) raised critical concerns for me, a local resident, that weren’t addressed in your initial reporting.
Especially, though my SCRD director Lori Pratt rightly praised “the tremendous response by Coast first responders to protect residents in this emergency,” I’m left wondering:
1) On whose property did this (so-called) “controlled burn” take place?
2) How did this burn arise?
3) Given the increasingly dry conditions and water restrictions already imposed in our district, how and why was a permit to proceed with a controlled burn issued (if indeed one was)?
4) Given both the dangerous fire conditions and the proximity of many homes in the immediate and nearby areas – smoke and ash were seen by some in the Truman Road neighbourhood less than two kilometres away – why were local residents not forewarned about this “controlled burn”?
5) Finally, given the dangers a six-acre forest fire posed to humans, animals, and property, who shall be held responsible for the costs incurred by the Halfmoon Bay and Sechelt fire departments, the BC Wildfire Service (two helicopters, a response officer, and a three-person initial attack crew), the RCMP, and crews from BC Forestry?
I encourage Coast Reporter to follow up and report answers to these questions.
Jan Michael Sherman, Halfmoon Bay