Smoke from the Elephant Hill fire billows up behind private residences located near the southwest end of Sheridan Lake on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2, 2017. File photo by Aaron Taylor.

Recovery from 2017 B.C. wildfires will ‘take years’

Nearly a year later, the Canadian Red Cross and BC Government reflect on the 2017 wildfires

Nearly one year after devastating wildfires broke out across the province, British Columbians continue to recover with the assistance of the Canadian Red Cross.

The Red Cross, working with the provincial and federal governments, has spent or committed $119.3 million over the last year —a number that represents nearly 74 per cent of the total $162.2 million B.C. Fires Appeal Fund.

  • $90 million allocated; ($62.1 million spent and committed to date) to support individuals and families
  • $29.1 million allocated; ($15.5 million spent and committed to date) to support community groups
  • $41.9 million allocated; ($40.5 million spent and committed to date) to support eligible small business, not-for-profit organizations, and First Nations cultural livelihoods.

The B.C. Fires Appeal Fund was built via $100 million from the provincial government, $38.6 million from federal government and $23.6 million directly from Canadians’ donations.

The 2017 wildfires triggered a 10-week provincewide state of emergency and forced the evacuation of about 65,000 people from their homes.

In total, an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island was scorched in the unprecedented year of B.C. wildfires.

“Providing support for all those affected was and is a massive undertaking,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“A lot of the issues after a disaster don’t manifest themselves immediately, the Red Cross is here for the long term, as is the province. Going forward, we know many British Columbians have a long road ahead of them and the work is not over.

“We will stand with the Red Cross and all British Columbians to help people rebuild now and into the future.”

While a year has passed since the fires sparked, there is still much work to be done.

According to the Red Cross, case workers continue to meet with individuals and families who are struggling with unmet needs due to the wildfires. The Red Cross states that needs emerge over time and at this stage in recovery those who may have been coping well until now can face unexpected challenges.

“Recovery from a disaster of this scope will take years,” said Kimberley Nemrava, vice president Canadian Red Cross, British Columbia & Yukon.

“The fires were traumatic for many, but in a true reflection of the strength and resilience of the people in the affected areas recovery is well underway.”

Related: B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

Related:2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

People still needing help are encouraged to reach out to the Red Cross, even if it is for the first time. Those interested can call 1-800-863-6582 for a confidential appointment for you and your family

The Canadian Red Cross has provided support in the following ways:

  • 66,500+ distributions of financial assistance to impacted individuals and families to help during their evacuation and as they recover.
  • Support for 22,500+ households as they returned home with help such as financial assistance and clean-up kits.
  • 94 community partnerships to support local organizations.
  • 2,500+ eligible small businesses received financial assistance.
  • 7,700+ meetings with individuals and families needing ongoing help to recover (both in person and over the phone).
  • 5,500+ consultations to provide emotional support for people both in-person or over the phone.
  • 1,200+ households referred to external mental health and well-being supports.
  • 220+ outreach visits to rural and Indigenous communities.

Red Cross by Anonymous xWYSmS on Scribd

B.C. Fires appointment line: 1-800-863-6582.

B.C. Fires website: http://www.redcross.ca/bcfires2017

Red Cross donor inquiries: WeCare@redcross.ca or 1-800-418-1111

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii Funeral Services gets support

Village of Queen Charlotte donates storage facility to non-profit group

Tlellagraph: One fire, two points of view

“No matter how good a person you are, you are evil in… Continue reading

Community dinner set to honour responders who handled Q.C. explosion

Potluck-style dinner set for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Tlell Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday until Thanksgiving

The Observer mistook the final day for the farmers market – don’t miss the harvest!

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read