Friday’s jet fuel spill into Lemon Creek is an extremely unfortunate accident that may have a long lasting impact on the Slocan Valley environment. Once the investigation into the accident is complete, we can only hope the conclusions will help to avoid such disasters in the future.
One valuable outcome at this point is what the evacuation of Slocan Valley residents has taught officials and emergency response teams.
The scale of the Friday/Saturday uprooting of residents is something this region has not experienced in some time, perhaps ever. Given our proximity to the surrounding forest, it’s certainly not the last time this type of mass temporary migration will take place.
In our everyday lives, we tend not to think about looming disasters. That would be a pretty dark place to exist on a daily basis. So when fire, flood, landslide or any other significant event takes place in our own backyard, we are quickly snapped back into the reality of where we live.
Rescue professionals and volunteers train for times like this. They educate themselves, hone skills and practice emergency situations on a regular basis. They prepare in an effort to protect us.
This weekend’s evacuation was an opportunity to put into play what has been practiced. For the most part it was executed well. Naturally there were glitches and bumps, but thankfully the threat to human life in this situation was not imminent.
At the root of the jet fuel spill is the single biggest threat this area faces on a daily basis during the warm weather months. The truck that toppled into Lemon Creek was bringing fuel to assist in the wildfire being fought near Winlaw.
One day a forest fire will cause a large scale disaster in this area. We should learn from what took place this last week and be thankful there are dedicated folks amongst us willing to assist in working towards the best possible outcome.