This past fire season in British Columbia was particularly destructive, with 343 homes lost to fires.
Much of the damage occurred in and around the Thompson-Okanagan, with dozens of homes destroyed by the White Rock Lake fire, near Westside Road and in the Monte Lake area. With 496,983 hectares burned, it was the worst season on record for the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the entire Thompson-Okanagan region.
The hardest hit region was Lytton, where a wildfire rolled through the village on June 30, decimating the vast majority of buildings. Two people were killed in the fire.
Many residents of the village remain scattered across the province, with no home to return to.
“Not since the floods in Grand Forks has an emergency displaced so many for so long,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for B.C.'s Emergency Preparedness
“Our shared desire is that everyone gets to rebuild quickly. But I know from past experiences that we are only at the beginning of that process. We know that rebuilding Lytton and other heavily affected areas will take time, and the Province will continue to be here to offer our support as we tackle this together.”
Logan Lake almost faced the same fate as Lytton, as the Tremont Creek wildfire bore down on the municipality in mid-August, forcing the evacuation of the entire district.
But due to heroic efforts from local firefighters, and a FireSmart program dating back years, no buildings were hit by the massive fire.
Rice says the province has handed out 365 FireSmart grants totalling more than $37 million to local governments in the past three years. The funding deadline for 2022 projects is Oct. 8.
“Individual British Columbians need to play a role in mitigating wildfire risks around their homes and properties by undertaking FireSmart initiatives,” Rice added. “In speaking with firefighters and communities, these measures often make the difference. You're not only protecting your own property, you're protecting your neighbour's too.”