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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 4: Recap

Results and highlights from day 4 at the 2019 All Native Basketball Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 3: Recap

Highlights from around Day 3 of the tournament

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Most Read