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.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

Oak Bay council places 60-day protection order on Island Road house

Developer pulled heritage agreement over ‘exorbitant’ $417,000 fees

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Firefighters tackle medium-sized grass fire on rural Saanich property

Saanich Fire Department issues warm weather fire safety reminder

Electrical fault results in Saanich hydro pole fire

BC Hydro crews on scene repairing damage well into the early morning hours

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read