More financial support coming for B.C. wildfire evacuees

The B.C. government says it is teaming up with the Canadian Red Cross to provide financial help to British Columbians affected by the hundreds of wildfires that scorched homes and forced evacuations across the province this summer.

In a statement Wednesday, the province announced its partnership with the humanitarian charitable organization to provide additional funding to eligible B.C. households, but each can access just one of the three new streams.

“Many British Columbians were impacted by this summer’s wildfires, and this funding will provide some much-needed financial relief for people who experienced losses or frightening disruptions to their daily lives,” said Forests Minister Katrine Conroy.

1 of 3 funding streams

The first stream is being made available to wildfire victims whose primary residences were severely affected. Each household is eligible to receive $2,000 based on structural loss information provided by Emergency Management B.C.

The second stream, also $2,000, is being made available to eligible households who were evacuated from the Lytton region in June. The majority of structures in that town were destroyed when a wildfire ripped through in a matter of hours.

The third is for any B.C. household that was under mandatory evacuation order for longer than 10 consecutive days during this years wildfire season. A total of $1,200 is being made available to eligible households.

The White Rock Lake fire, as seen from Ellison Provincial Park. The fire began burning July 13, 2021, about 34 kilometers northwest of Vernon, B.C. The neighbouring community of Monte Lake was destroyed. (Submitted by Alana Johannson)

Register with Red Cross

The statement said evacuees must register with the Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582 between the hours of 8 a.m., and 8 p.m., PT. 

The province says accessing these new streams will not affect eligibility for other supports through its Emergency Support Services program.

“These funds will provide a helping hand as people work through the extraordinary challenges that come with such a stressful and traumatic time,” said Mike Farnworth, the minister of public safety and solicitor general.

Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to affected British Columbians can do so though the Red Cross, by calling toll free at 1-800-418-1111, or by texting the word “FIRES” to 45678.

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