Help available for wildfire victims

Help available for wildfire victims

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart says there is assistance for those affected by wildfires.

By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart

This year’s wildfire season has been a challenging and devastating one for interior B.C. communities and the families who live there.

While many areas like Boston Flats, Loon Lake, and the Ashcroft Indian Band are moving into recovery, parts of northern B.C. are still battling fires. In times like these we need to support one another.

In early August, MLAs John Rustad and Ian Paton came to talk with local ranchers and community members, and see the impacts of the Elephant Hill fire first-hand. MLA Rustad is the opposition critic for Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and MLA Paton is the opposition critic for Agriculture. Together we will ensure that the NDP government is fully aware of what our communities are going through.

For those seeking support, the following programs are currently available:

The “Support for Evacuee Program” provides individuals and families on an evacuation alert and evacuation orders with a one-time payment of $600 per household, and a second $600 per household payment every fourteen days thereafter, as well as a one-time payment of $300 upon re-entry.

The “Support to Small Business” grant provides a $1,500 emergency grant to eligible small businesses, First Nations, and non-profit organizations if they have been impacted by the fires.

The “Community Partnership Program” supports community-driven efforts for recovery and resiliency. Not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, Indigenous organizations and others can apply to receive support through this program.

The Canadian Red Cross is administering all three of these programs, with funding provided by the Province of B.C. For more information visit www.redcross.ca.

Please continue to watch out for one another through these trying times. My thoughts are with you all.