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Wildrose Calling For Independent Public Inquiry Into Wildfire Response, RMWB Launches Own Review

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Wildrose Calling For Independent Public Inquiry Into Wildfire Response, RMWB Launches Own Review

Smoke billows on to a roadway in Abasand Heights from a wildfire on April 30, 2016

The Wildrose is calling on the NDP government to create an independent public inquiry into the response to last year’s wildfire.

The official opposition wants the organization, management and operations looked at through a judge-led public inquiry, as opposed to a review or report.

Party Leader and Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA Brian Jean says judicial oversight would guarantee that there is separation from ministry officials and give Albertans the best picture on how to handle future wildfires and natural disasters.

The independent judge-led public inquiry would follow the model of a similar one which took place in Australia and would look at preventative measures including FireSmart and building codes leading up to the fire, air tanker availability and response, fire line contracts as well as the initial response to the wildfire and evacuation procedures.

The NDP’s have been conducting two independent reviews since last year. On May 3, Premier Rachel Notley said the results would be made public in 2-4 weeks. They have not yet been released.

Meanwhile, the RMWB announced on Thursday they’ve contracted KPMG to conduct an independent review of the regional-level wildfire response and recovery.

As part of the review, residents and business owners can take part in surveys regarding access to various recovery supports and the effectiveness of them.

The municipality notes this is intended to build on the province’s review which includes data collected from more than 5,000 residents by KPMG on behalf of the GOA.

The surveys will be open until June 30 and are available at rmwb.ca/wildfirereview.

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