Summer 2017 saw unprecedented fires in British Columbia. Though the City of Quesnel was not evacuated or under evacuation alert, businesses and residents in Quesnel were impacted by the highway closure. Many in the surrounding area were evacuated and on alert, and there were some structural losses in the North Cariboo.
Emergency Management BC has provided funding for a Wildfire Recovery Team to assess the economic impacts of the fire, and to develop and begin early implementation of a plan for recovery.
The funding is flowing through the City of Quesnel, but the team's work will be sub-regional in nature. The team will be based in Quesnel and will be travelling to outlying communities.
The wildfire recovery office is now closed.
The Wildfire Recovery Team has completed the Wildfire Recovery Plan which has been submitted to the Province. Formal and informal in person interviews, phone calls, and emailed surveys were used to inform the plan.
The Wildfire Recovery Plan is broken into three sections:
Section 1 - The Recovery Needs and Requests for Support for the North Cariboo Sub-Region.
This section includes a collated list of identified needs, emergent resources and collaborations, related gaps, and specific requests for support from the Province under the following categories:
- Fuel management
- Incentives for Firesmarting
- Transition planning and implementation
- Forestry research and innovation
- Collaboration for ecological restoration
- Emergency preparedness
- Support for rural and urban Business, non-profits, and festivals
- Support for tourism sector
- Support for trappers, guide outfitters, miners, and small land-based operations
- Review of delivery mechanism for recovery support
Section 2 - Lessons learned - Steps for Sub-Regional "Recovery Mode".
This section outlines the lessons learned and measures that are recommended for future recovery response.
- Enable immediate hiring of recovery manager, coordinators, and office support
- Establish Reference Group/Steering Committee
- Assess and address community needs
- Assist businesses and non-profits to prepare for disaster
- Enable homeowners to prepare for disaster
- Institute formal mechanism for donations
- Encourage community strengthening
- Create communications tools
- Invigorate shop local program
Section 3 - Wildfire Recovery Assessment and Impact Summary Table.
Using the template supplied by the Province, this section details all actions, recommendations, and the status of implementation.
The developments of the Wildfire Recovery initiative in the North Cariboo sub-region in the month of December is summarized below:
1. Currently, the North Cariboo Wildfire Recovery team is focusing on the following initiatives:
- Continued impact assessment for urban and rural businesses as well as non-profits.
- Coordination of a Snow Ball tournament that will leverage the existing Winter Carnival. The ultimate plan is to increase marketing for the event outside of the community. A meeting will take place in the New Year with the new Event Coordinator, BIAs, Chamber, etc, to discuss potential for long term, larger Winter Carnival event.
- On December 6 a meeting was held with 8 non-profits to coordinate submissions to the BC Rural Dividend applications for the $10,000 Project Development stream.
2. The North Cariboo Wildfire Recovery work-plan and impact assessment was submitted to the Province on December 1.
- The plan will be reviewed by a variety of staff in different branches including the Community Wildfire Recovery Branch (CWRB), Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) and Provincial Disaster Recovery Branch (PDRB) as well as referral of various components to other ministries where relevant.
- The province will follow-up with each community, 1-on-1, to discuss elements of the recovery plans early in the new year, where existing programs may be useful to fulfill articulated needs, and where there common are gaps in supports, these may be brought to the Economic, or People and Communities Working Groups, or discussed by the Community Wildfire Recovery Branch (CWRB), Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) and Provincial Disaster Recovery Branch PDRB for problem solving.
3. The North Cariboo Wildfire Recovery Team meets with all other Recovery teams/managers and Province every 2 weeks. The last meeting was on December 14, 2017 and the next meeting will take place January 11, 2018. Key updates from the December 14 meeting were:
- An unmet needs committee (Regional, not in the North Cariboo) is being formed that will be at arm’s length from government.
- 15 communities have been accepted for Recovery Teams; 6 of which are First Nations and another 9 more potentially coming on.
- Many Recovery initiatives are anticipating needing recovery support past March 31, 2018.
The Wildfire Recovery Team is looking for input from businesses, non-profits, farmers, woodlot operators, placer miners and others whose income was impacted by the wildfires this summer. Three slightly different surveys have been developed. The wildfire team will be using the information collected through these surveys to develop a plan for economic recovery.
Survey for non-profits
Please complete this survey if your non-profit organization was impacted by the wildfires.
Survey for small business
Please complete this survey if your small business in the North Cariboo was impacted by the wildfires.
Survey for rural areas
Please complete this survey if your income comes from the land base (placer mining, woodlot, agriculture, guiding/outfitting, etc). If you have a retail business in the rural area, please complete the survey for small business.
Check back on this page for updates and progress regarding the information collected and the development and implementation of the recovery plan.
The Cariboo Regional District has compiled an extensive list of resources for business, non-profits and individuals impacted by the 2017 wildfires.
Loans and Business Ambassador Program.
Up to $20,000 available in grants for eligible businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by wildfires.
Recovery assistance for agriculture producers impacted by wildfires.
Assessing the recovery needs of the tourism industry.
The Competitiveness Consulting Rebate may help you to get your business back on track.