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VIDEO: Trudeau visits West Kelowna

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited West Kelowna today.

After a visit with Westbank First Nation leaders, the PM stopped at the main fire hall.

The visit comes as the communities in the area are starting to deal with the loss of close to 200 homes, and before most of those displaced have had a chance to return to what is left of their properties.

The PM stressed how his government plans to support communities through the rebuilding process and as they try to bolster protections against future fires.

"This has been an extraordinarily difficult summer for Canadians from coast to coast to coast," said Trudeau outside the West Kelowna main firehall.

"We are going to continue to be there as a federal government," he said.

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia/Nick Csek </who>

But local officials are still looking for more specifics.

"I appreciate him being here. I really do," said West Kelowna Mayor Gordon Milsom. "It's important for him to see what's occurred here."

But Milsom has questions.

"Hopefully, there will be increased supports," he said. "And that's one thing I asked the Prime Minister."

Milsom said getting federal help for fire mitigation projects to better protect communities is a cumbersome process.

"I said, we need more help in that regard. We need investment."

The PM did hint at more stable and predictable support for emergency preparedness.

"This is something with which we are fully seized," he said. "And our minister of infrastructure among others will be fully engaged with."

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia/Nick Csek </who> Trudeau shaking hands with WIlson's Landing Fire Chief Paul Zydowicz

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia/Nick Csek </who> Trudeau and his daughter walking alongside West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund

After a week fighting a firestorm, West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund was appreciative of the PM's visit.

"I am happy that he's here," said Brolund. "He wanted to bear witness to the destruction in our community. He wanted to see what worked here and give credit to the first responders for their hard work.

I was comforted by his visit as were my people and the public should take comfort as well."

And Brolund believes it's been more than just a photo opportunity.

"He shared with me that he wants to take the lessons learned from our event and see how those could apply across the country."

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia/Nick Csek </who> Trudeau snd BCWS Incident Commander Brad Litke

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia/Nick Csek </who>

Trudeau spent time talking with structural and wildfire firefighters during his brief visit.

Earlier he met with Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas as well.

As the discussions took place, just a few kilometres away, the McDougall Creek fire continues to burn.

While the threat to neighbouring communities has decreased, thousands of residents remain on evacuation orders and the fire is still listed as burning out of control.

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