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B.C. wildfire centre moving to Kamloops

Kamloops, B.C. - Kamloops will become the centre for wildfire control in the province, beginning in 2010 when Victoria-based operations are fully transferred.

February 7, 2008 
By Cam Fortems The Canadian Press

Premier Gordon Campbell made the announcement Wednesday at the Kamloops fire centre, which currently houses regional operations for much of the Interior.
In addition to putting the provincial centre at the centre of the action, Campbell said a central reason for the move is retention and recruitment of staff.
Campbell said many people attracted to the fire service would like to be in a more rural setting.
He said the government should respond to that and do what it can to attract people to the civil service.
An estimated 15 to 20 jobs will move to Kamloops when the transfer is complete in 2010. Staff at the provincial centre are responsible for allocating resources among regional centres.
Denis Gaudry, manager of the Kamloops fire centre, said provincial centre staff also work with outside provincial and U.S. agencies to bring in more support in times of crisis. Provincial fire communications staff would also be centred here once the move is complete.
Campbell, who last stood in the Kamloops fire centre during what was dubbed Firestorm 2003, said the agency under the B.C. Forest Service has a worldwide reputation for excellence.
The move will also complement the provincial air tanker centre already headquartered in Kamloops, the premier told staff, local politicians and reporters gathered for the announcement.
”We don't want to pretend it happens overnight,”' said the premier, adding the fire centre will need a building expansion to house new staff and operations.
Campbell was also in Kamloops Wednesday to present public service awards to Interior civil servants.
New Democrats said the premier and Forests Minister Rich Coleman snubbed a provincial silvicultural contractors conference being held at Sun Peaks Wednesday through Friday.
But Campbell said Coleman was attending a federal-provincial housing ministers conference in Victoria. 

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