Officials outline B.C. wildfire supports amid ‘harrowing times’

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May 18, 2024 – Boshika Gupta/CBC News

Officials are establishing support systems for thousands of evacuees displaced from their homes by wildfires in parts of British Columbia last week.

In Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation, 4,700 people had to leave their homes because of the Parker Lake blaze. A separate fire led to evacuation efforts in the Doig River First Nation and a portion of the Peace River Regional District near Fort St. John on Monday.

“Top of mind is always the impact that these wildfires and these evacuations have on evacuees, individuals and families,” said B.C. Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma on CBC’s Daybreak North Friday morning.

“We have so far almost 5,000 people from the Fort Nelson area in host communities such as Fort St. John and Chetwynd and Prince George and Dawson Creek and scattered throughout the interior and the north. These are some pretty harrowing times for a lot of these community members.”

The first evacuation orders were issued as early as mid-April, which isn’t common but isn’t “completely unprecedented,” Ma said, adding that it’s worrisome that nearly 5,000 evacuees had to be evacuated days before the May long weekend.

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