Thousands of wildfire crews continue to fight fires burning in the province, but officials with the B.C. Government are now looking ahead at the transition from response to recovery.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham took part in Monday’s wildfire media call to remind ranchers and farmers that help is on the way. Last week it was learned that $20 million would be provided by the federal and provincial governments to assist with those heavily impacted by wildfires.
“We want ranchers and farmers to know help is on the way,” said Popham.
The money will go towards agriculture recovery, such as veterinary costs, housing costs and feed costs for animals, and their transportation. It will also include funds for re-establishing feed facilities, labour costs for fencing repair, critical infrastructure not covered by insurance, loss of breeding animals and the reseeding of crops.
There are still 168 fires burning today, including nine new fires since yesterday. They have burned well over one million hectares of land — a provincial record for a single fire season.
These fires have cost the BC Wildfires Service $499.4 million since April 1, as just under 3,000 personnel continue to fight the fires — along with 1,400 contractors and another 261 out-of-province personnel.
Wildfire officials ask people to remain vigilant as a campfire prohibition remains in effect for much of the province, including the Coastal, Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast Fire Centres. While some areas of the province are seeing less fire activity than in recent weeks, the situation is still volatile in many areas of the province, especially the East Kootenay region, according to Chief Fire Information office Kevin Skrepnek.
He also believes it’s safe to say the worst is over for the Cariboo region, but reminds residents that a tremendous amount of work remains in that area with dangers on the ground, in the form of damaged trees and infrastructure.
With hunting season underway, anyone out in the backcountry is being reminded to watch out as active operations are still underway and there is no reason for people to become complacent just yet.