ROTHENBURGER: Armchair wildfire experts should wait for some facts

Nohomin Creek wildfire. (Image: BC Wildfire Service.)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE WAS MUCH to criticize in B.C.’s response to last summer’s wildfires but could we wait until there’s actually something to criticize this summer before we get on our high horses again?

And while we’re at it, could we leave the politics at home, at least for now?

The Nohomin Creek wildfire near Lytton is the first significant fire event of the season but the armchair experts have wasted no time flapping their gums over how it’s being handled.

According to them, suppression crews took too long getting there. More firefighters were needed on the ground. More water bombers and helicopters. The Mars Martin should be pressed into service.

Then there are the truly genius comments, such as the claims that it’s all a conspiracy to create more jobs and make money.

In the fullness of time, issues may emerge about the response to this fire but there’s certainly no evidence of any mishandling at this point. The available information is that the response was timely but that terrain is very difficult, and thick smoke, heavy winds and limited access have proved challenging, as they quite often do.

Yet, by all appearances, crews are doing a great job slowing the spread.

So, my advice to those with nothing better to do than make stuff up, how about zipping up until there’s some factual basis for questioning how the fire is being fought?

The message is much the same for Kevin Falcon and the BC Liberals. Falcon and Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart issued a statement on the weekend sympathizing with Lytton residents.

That’s appropriate but they couldn’t resist going political, announcing they’ve told Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to put every available resource into fighting the fire.

Making reference to last year’s fires, they then say they’ll hold Farnworth and the government “accountable.”

Come on. Homes have been lost; people evacuated. Is it really necessary to immediately bring politics into it?

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9510 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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