Representatives from government, aid organizations and other groups travelled to the Southside last week hoping to assess and meet the needs of local residents.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) set up a Wildfire Recovery and Resiliency Centre at the Grassy Plains Community Hall from Sept. 23-27.
According to Haley Jeffrey, the RDBN’s emergency services manager, the event aimed to connect local residents with organizations that may be able to offer support toward their recovery process.
“The event is also an opportunity for the RDBN and other agencies to talk to residents to better understand their recovery needs,” she said.
These groups offered financial, mental health and physical support, as well as support for agriculture, domestic animals, property damage and businesses.
Attending the event were the Red Cross, Community Paramedics, BC Wildfire Service, Emergency Management BC, Lakes District Family Enhancement Society, Ministry of Forests, Land, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Telus, BC Hydro, Lakes Animal Friendship Society, Community Futures Nadina, Nee Tahi Buhn Band, Brazzoni & Associates, Health Emergency Management BC and the Southside Relief Team.
Southside residents have recently returned home after weeks of evacuation due to the region’s devastating wildfire season.
Mike Robertson, senior policy advisor for Cheslatta Carrier Nation, told Lakes District News last month that returning home was causing “a lot of anxiety and stress” for some residents who had their properties or livelihoods affected.
“People in the agriculture industry have woodlots, and a lot of those woodlots that were a pretty important part of their income are gone now.”
The larger wildfires around the Burns Lake area are now 100 per cent contained and not expected to spread beyond their boundaries, but it could still take quite some time for these fires to be completely extinguished. Firefighters continue to patrol for hotspots and monitor these areas.
Residents who still need assistance are encouraged to contact the RDBN at 250-692-3195.