Wildfire Recovery Programs
Over the course of the 2017 wildfire season, over 65,000 people were displaced. Over 1.2 million hectares have burnt and over $550 million has been spent on direct wildfire costs alone. The Province is working closely with First Nations, communities and businesses to ensure the necessary programs are in place to support recovery.
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
- The Canadian Red Cross offers direct assistance to B.C. families and communities impacted by wildfires through five Red Cross Support Centres and toll-free at 1-800-863-6582 (Monday to Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT).
- The Canadian Red Cross also supports community-driven efforts that promote individual and community recovery and resilience through the Community Partnerships Program. Applications are open to registered charities, not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, schools and school boards, Indigenous Peoples organizations, and faith-based organizations.
- The Ministry of Education is providing trauma support through the Safe Schools program to students that require these services in school districts that were impacted by wildfires.
- Impacted families can also 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 2017 Canada-British Columbia Wildfires Recovery Initiative will provide up to $20 million to assist agricultural producers with the extraordinary costs incurred to recover from the adverse effects of this year’s wildfires. Learn more about the AgriRecovery disaster relief framework.
- The Province has committed $6.2 million to repair or replace Crown range infrastructure and an estimated 100 kilometres of livestock fencing along provincial highways and that was damaged or destroyed by wildfires. Learn more about the repair and replacement of livestock fencing.
- The application period for emergency assistance for small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and cultural livelihoods that support First Nations communities closed on October 31, 2017. Applicants with questions can contact the Support to Small Business Helpline Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT at 1-855-999-3345.
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 is critical throughout this work to understand their unique and specific challenges. Provincial government staff members have been working closely with First Nations communities to discuss how we can support them as they rebuild. First Nations are also being engaged on land-based recovery efforts, including timber salvage and reforestation.
EMBC is holding engagement sessions with impacted First Nations communities to look at successes, challenges and improvements that can be made for future events.