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October 27, 2017 4:42 pm

Province to Provide Assistance To those Impacted by Wildfires

Monday, July 10, 2017 @ 2:02 PM

Prince George, B.C.- It is estimated 14 thousand people have been evacuated from their homes because of the wildfires in  B.C.

Emergency Management B.C. Deputy Minister Bob Turner says the province will be providing  financial assistance to those  impacted by the  flames.

“We will  be,  together with the Red Cross,  implementing a financial assistance package to families.  The details  of that are being worked out at this very moment, and we hope to have  more information and instructions out to people very soon on exactly  how  that will be implemented.”

Turner says the lessons  learned  from the  Fort McMurry fire in Alberta  have been  implemented  “We have been in regular contact, particularly with our colleagues at the Alberta  emergency Management Agency.  They have  offered support  we are  availing ourselves to that support and  we have studied very closely the after action reports from Fort McMurray to  ensure we are applying any  lessons learned.”

One of the lessons learned is  preventing fraud from those who falsely claimed to be  evacuees  in order to get  financial assistance  “A lot of lessons were learned from that about  verification   which have been applied.  Since then,  we have had a program  here in B.C. which the Red Cross lead for  victims of flooding.  There are various levels of verification  including ensuring the people are from the affected areas we are looing at, specifically  the geographic areas that are impacted  so the first, is to  ensure that is in fact where the people were.”

Turner says assistance won’t necessarily be limited to those  who are  residents from the affected areas “We will have stranded travellers, and we will have   other people who have  been made vulnerable by the vent and we will be looking at ways to   assist  everyone who has been impacted by the wildfires.”

During the fort McMurry  fires, the Federal Government  matched dollars that were donated to  the Red Cross,  Turner   says there has been no confirmation of that  sort of  funding commitment yet “We are in discussion with the Federal Government on a large  number of issues and this will be one of them.”

But  there  is no  immediate end in sight says  BC Wildfire  Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek, “In the big picture, continued hot dry conditions are  expected to continue”.   Campfires are now banned across the province, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the fog  zone  along  Vancouver Island.

Three hundred extra personnel are to start arriving in B.C. today, most  are coming from Alberta and Ontario.

“Generally we are still looking at a deteriorating situation”  says  Bob Turner of  Emergency Management B.C “and we are  looking  at many weeks to come of a challenging environment in terms of public safety.”



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