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Premier visits fire zone

Premier Christy Clark made the first visit to her West Kelowna riding Friday to survey damage caused by the Smith Creek wildfire.

She says while the province's firefighting budget has already been spent, they will not stop spending more money to fight forest fires burning around BC and will continue to dip into contingency funds throughout the rest of the year.

“I can tell you right now, this is our focus. Right here. This community is the number one focus,” she says.

“We are not going to stop spending money because it's expensive, we are going to do everything we can to protect people and property across the province.”

Clark says there are a number of emergency services on the ground and they’ve also doubled the resources in the air, in order to fight this fire.

The 400 hectare blaze is believed to have been human caused and Clark pleaded with the public to be more vigilant when out in the province's back country. She also pointed to the dry timbered conditions partially caused by the mountain pine beetle as a contributing factor, along with noticeable climate change.

“We have to be more and more prepared every year, because we can’t expect this to get easier. I think it’s only going to get harder.”

As for the Premier’s home in West Kelowna, it’s not immediately at stake.

“I haven’t been ordered evacuated. But I can sure sympathize with everybody in (the registration/reception center).”

She also told the assembled media that an earlier reported threat to the Westside’s power supply has diminished, and said she has talked to BC Hydro about getting a second power unit in the future.

Clark will be spending the later part of her day meeting with evacuees and other emergency personnel.

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