Wildfire Recovery Programs
As wildfires are still burning in many areas of B.C., and thousands of people remain on evacuation order, the Province’s main focus continues to be on fire suppression and emergency social services supports. In the coming weeks, this focus will shift more fully from public safety to recovery. To assist families, small businesses, local governments and First Nations in recovering from the damages caused by emergencies both this year and in future years, the Province is developing a recovery plan and working to deliver supports as and where they are needed.
Recovery Programs Available
Recovery supports and programs are available to citizens, businesses, First Nations and communities impacted by the wildfires, depending on their individual circumstances.
Citizen Recovery Programs
- Emergency Social Services (ESS) is available for those people under Evacuation Order due to wildfires. The ESS program requires that people register in-person and complete a needs assessment. The program does not allow for support to be backdated and people cannot be reimbursed for previous expenditures. Learn more about ESS and Emergency Reception Centres.
- Disaster psychosocial support is available to anyone impacted by the wildfires and is made available at Emergency Reception Centres.
- The Canadian Red Cross is offering direct assistance to evacuees and communities impacted by wildfires. All evacuees are strongly encouraged to register with the Canadian Red Cross, even if aid is not required, by calling 1-800-863-6582 or registering online. Learn more about the Canadian Red Cross and Resilience Centres.
- Families returning home after evacuation may be eligible for a $300 re-entry grant delivered through the Canadian Red Cross. Learn more about the supports provided by the Canadian Red Cross.
- The Ministry of Education plans to make available trauma supports for children who were evacuated when they return to school.
- Impacted families can call the Ministry of Children and Family Development toll-free at 1-877-387-7027 to connect with services for children, families and caregivers, including child and youth mental-health services.
Business Recovery Programs
- The AgriRecovery program is helping B.C. Cattleman return to ranching. Learn more about the AgriRecovery disaster relief framework or about other wildfire response programs supporting B.C. ranchers and farmers.
- The Province has committed funds to support the replacement of livestock fencing and Crown range infrastructure. Learn more about the repair and replacement of livestock fencing.
- The Canadian Red Cross Small Business Support Program is accepting applications through to October 31. This program allows eligible small businesses to apply for a $1,500 emergency grant.
- The British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) hotline is available 1-877-422-3377 to support businesses impacted by wildfires.
Environmental Recovery Programs
- The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s (FLNRORD) recovery plans include immediate efforts related to rehabilitation from wildfires and firefighting, such as trail restoration, grass seeding and assessing slopes for stability. These and the following recovery efforts are being led through an incident command structure based in the Cariboo:
- Wildlife staff are assessing impacts on wildlife habitat.
- Forestry staff are assessing impacts on timber supply and prioritizing areas for reforestation and determining areas to issue salvage licence. Staff are also working closely with forest companies to expedite cutting permits to help people get back to work at the mill.
- Range staff will continue to work with ranchers to replace fencing and infrastructure and identify alternate grazing areas for livestock.
First Nations Engagement
First Nations engagement will be critical throughout this work to understand their unique and specific challenges. Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) staff have been working closely with First Nations communities to discuss how we can support them as they rebuild. The FLNRORD recovery strategy also includes consultation and outreach efforts with local First Nations.
After the fire season is over, EMBC will hold engagement sessions with impacted First Nations communities to look at successes and challenges and how those can be improved upon for future events.