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Whistler, Pemberton agree to mutual aid

Whistler and Pemberton fire services will rush to help each other whenever a major incident happens in either community.

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The Mutual Aid Agreement, which was passed by Whistler council on Monday night, allows the Whistler fire service to call on resources from Pemberton and vice versa.

Fire Chief Bruce Hall called it a proactive approach to meet the emergency needs of both communities in the event of a major incident.

He added that Mutual Aid Agreements were strongly recommended in the Firestorm 2003 report by Gary Filmon, which examined last summer’s wildfires in B.C.

Whistler currently has a Mutual Aid Agreement with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District involving the Garibaldi Fire Department and the District of Squamish.

Each agreement lasts five years.

On a less positive note, Hall also informed council that efforts to stop the mountain pine beetle moving through Whistler have been unsuccessful.

He said they tried to draw a line in the trees at Emerald but the pine beetle has made its way through the resort down to Pinecrest, south of Whistler.

The good thing for Whistler, said Hall, is that there’s a lot of species other than pine.

As such, Whistler won’t the see the same damage from the beetle as in the Rutherford and Soo Valley areas.

The fire chief also updated council on the Lillooet fire. Evacuation alerts for more than 4,000 residents in the area were lifted late Sunday, July 4.

Hall also lifted the 1 p.m. construction ban on Whistler, which was imposed last week.

With the recent rainfall the fire hazard in Whistler has moved from extreme to moderate. Projections show the hazard will stay at moderate throughout the weekend.

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