The fire on Elephant Mountain on the evening of July 7. The Ashcroft Indian Band is working to help support Band members who have been impacted by the fire. Barbara Roden

Supports and services in place for Ashcroft Indian Band members

The Emergency Operations Centre on Railway Avenue will remain open to provide assistance.

While Cornwall Road through the Ashcroft Reserve is now open for traffic travelling between Ashcroft and Highway 1, the Reserve is still under an Evacuation Order. Residents are not able to come and go on the Reserve itself due to public safety.

The Emergency Operations Centre for members of the Ashcroft Indian Band (located on Railway Avenue beside Fields) is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Emergency Social Services centre at the River Inn is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is open to all local residents who lost their homes, and has food, water, toiletries, clothing, footwear, and more.

One of the AIB’s biggest priorities has been to be in touch with the Canadian Red Cross, to stress the importance of the Red Cross coming to the AIB community to sort out the lack of funds given to members. The Red Cross planned to send a team to the community on July 24 to proceed with the initial payment of $600.

Any AIB members with questions about payments should contact the Red Cross directly (www.redcross.ca or 1-800-863-6582). The Band apologizes for all of this confusion, and wants members to know that the process has been a very frustrating process.

There will be an Ashcroft Indian Band Community Gathering and Information Sharing meeting on Tuesday, July 25 from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Ashcroft HUB. Dinner will be served, and is being catered by neighbours from Cook’s Ferry. This gathering is for Ashcroft Indian Band members only, and not for the general public. Anyone who needs transportation should call 1-778-257-2762 to arrange a ride.

Those receiving ESS in other communities, such as Kamloops and Merritt, will be eligible for a gas gift card for each family. The gathering is a place where members can ask questions; the organizers will do their best to answer them.

First Onsite—a firm of disaster and emergency restoration experts—has been in the AIB buildings and residences de-smoking them, which consists of cleaning walls and ceilings, to ensure that each building is safe for re-entry, as the Band is working hard to get people back into their homes.

The Esso Travel Centre has now been re-opened, and Tim Horton’s is expected to be open once more on Tuesday, July 25. These two businesses employ 40 people between them, some of whom lost their homes.

Mental health support is available, and the Band hopes members will utilize it. Mental health professionals are in the ESS room and the emergency reception area at the River Inn.

The Band is also planning on holding an Emergency Social Services training session on Thursday, July 27 at the Ashcroft HUB for anyone who would like to volunteer to help out. Call the EOC at 1-778-257-2762 to register.