More Reaction To Nilson’s Comments On Noel Fire

Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 15:19



Northern Affairs Minister Joan Beatty doesn’t want to say too much about comments made earlier this week by her counterpart at Saskatchewan Environment.


John Nilson angered community leaders in Stony Rapids when he said they didn’t do enough to prepare for a forest fire that threatened Stony earlier this summer.


Nilson stated Stony Rapids hadn’t done as much as other northern communities when it comes to protective measures like fire breaks.


Beatty says she doesn’t know the questions Nilson was answering when he made his statements, but she does see a need to review how the situation was handled.


Leaders in Stony Rapids say Nilson is trying to deflect criticism away from the province’s so-called “let it burn” policy, which many residents feel was the main reason the fire burned so close.


Stony Rapids alderman Scott Hale says Nilson’s assertion that the village should have done more to prepare itself for the fire this summer is unfair.


He says Nilson’s remarks that fire breaks should have been built by the hamlet are especially troublesome, because Stony Rapids is a community of only 300 people.


Hale says much of the North is near rivers as well, and he maintains they’re not supposed to cut trees by the edge.


He also claims this summer’s fire was burning within the government’s 20-km full response zone long before it was attacked.