CHETWYND -- The mayors of Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge are expressing concern over the relocation of the Northern Initial Fire Attack Crew from Chetwynd to Dawson Creek, saying it could double response times in the community and surrounding districts.

In letters addressed to B.C.’s Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston, both Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge condemned the move that they say was made without consultation with stakeholders and local First Nations communities.

The mayor of Hudson’s Hope Travous Quibell said the move to not consulate the districts is a breach of the Emergency and Disaster Management Act.

“This requirement doesn’t seem to apply to the Ministry,” said Quibell in his letter.

Quibell says that the relocation will delay response times from approximately one to two and half hours, and will not only impact or displace residents, but could cost millions to local businesses.

Last year, there were four fires in Hudson’s Hope that were suppressed following a response from the NIFAC.

Tumbler Ridge's mayor Darryl Krakowka said that firefighting capabilities should be bolstered to safeguard communities, and align with the province’s wildfire preparedness objectives.

“The crew’s familiarity with our terrain, vegetation, and local fire dynamics ensures a more effective and efficient response to wildfires,” said Krakowka.

The letters were presented to Chetwynd city council during a meeting on February 20.

They are urging the minister to recognize the importance of the NIFAC to the districts, and reverse course on the decision.

“We are confident that your decision will reflect a steadfast commitment to safeguarding the interests of our community and preserving the invaluable services provided by the NIFAC," said Krakowka.