The devastation the wildfires is causing is heartbreaking. How communities are pulling together is heartwarming. United Way is bringing together the power of many to help those affected by the 2017 BC wildfires. As fires continue to devastate British Columbia, United Way is mobilizing efforts through United for BC Wildfire Recovery, a provincial initiative preparing for the recovery and rebuilding of communities across the province. “Recovery from a crisis like the B.C. wildfires will be a long process spanning months to several years,” says Danalee Baker, Executive Director of United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo. “Recovery and rebuilding will look different for each community as well as each individual and family. It might be as simple as cleaning out a fridge, or as intensive as re-building a home from scratch or dealing with depression as a result of trauma. What will be the same for everyone is the fear and uncertainty that such a crisis brings.” As residents become displaced throughout BC, United Ways across the province are working together to ensure that the immediate needs of families and individuals arriving in their communities are met. United Way is working in collaboration with the Red Cross, local municipalities, regional districts and Emergency Operations Centres on coordinated efforts through Social Recovery Task Forces to support the rebuilding and resiliency of communities affected by the wildfires in British Columbia. A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise funds for important social needs like finding permanent housing, food assistance, trauma and mental health supports, and rebuilding social infrastructure to meet community needs once the fires die down and residents return home. Funds raised through this initiative will stay in BC to support the greatest needs of affected communities. As the fire season evolves, this list will expand.
You can help
Make a donation or sign up to volunteer for recovery efforts at www.unitedforbcwildfires.ca. United Way’s information and referral initiative, bc211.ca, has recently expanded to cover the entire province with live web-chat and enhanced, centralized wildfire information to augment current communication channels to support the immediate needs of those in crisis.
- 383 fires are burning, 22 of note (as of July 18th, 2017)
- Nearly 40,000 evacuees have been displaced from their homes in BC from Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Lake Country, Clearwater, Cache Creek, Clinton, Ashcroft Reserve, Princeton, and more on alert.
- Kamloops and Prince George have been the primary reception centres for evacuees, with ESS Receptions Centres now open in:
- Barriere Reception Centre (4936 Barriere Town Road)
- Chilliwack Reception Centre (Chilliwack Secondary School at 46363 Yale Road)
- Kamloops Reception Centre (Sandman Centre at 300 Lorne Street)
- Kelowna Reception Centre (1480 Sutherland Avenue)
- Lillooet Reception Centre (Lillooet Fire Hall at 570 Main Street)
- Merritt Reception Centre (Merritt Civic Centre at 1950 Mamette Avenue)
- Penticton Reception Centre (Penticton Community Centre at 325 Power Road)
- Prince George Reception Centre (College of New Caledonia at 3330 – 22nd Avenue)
- Princeton Reception Centre (Riverside Community Centre at148 Old Hedley Road)
- Surrey Reception Centre (Cloverdale Arena at 6090 176th Street, Cloverdale)
- Vernon Reception Centre (Vernon Curling Rink at 3400 39 Avenue)
- United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, United Way of Northern BC, and United Way Central & South Okanagan-Similkameen are the primary United Ways collaborating on this effort with the support of other United Ways in BC and United Way Canada Centraide.