As everyone knows, there are wildfires burning in British Columbia.
At the present time there are no fires reported in the immediate vicinity of Smithers, the location for SOAR 2017. (See BC Active Wildfires map). The weather forecast for the coming week includes rain over many of the nights – great news! (See Environment Canada weather forecast for Smithers)
We have recently contacted Bulkley Valley Emergency Management personnel, including the Fire Department, Emergency Management Coordinator and the RCMP. We will be guided and directed by this team, with respect to welcoming nearly 2,500 people to SOAR in twelve days.
Emergency plans are in place in accordance with Girl Guides of Canada Safe Guide procedures, and these will be reviewed with participants. When SOAR begins, we will hold an Accountability Drill to ensure everyone can gather to evacuate the site quickly, should it become necessary. The Accountability Drill will occur at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday July 22nd. Emergency management personnel will be aware at all times of the location of our activities and how many participants are at those locations, and we will continue to be guided by them should emergency procedures need to be activated.
In the meantime, our thoughts are with our sisters in Guiding who have been, or may be, affected by the wildfires, as well as the thousands of emergency services personnel who are battling the blazes.
Cathy Cook and Deb Oakley
SOAR 2017 Co-Responsible Guiders