Recovery and supports
To help people and communities manage and recover from the impacts of wildfires, the Government of BC, Crown Corporations and the Government of Canada have various programs and resources available.
On this page:
- Financial support
- Emergency Support Services (ESS)
- Mental health
- Agriculture and ranching
- Government of Canada
- BC Hydro
- Canada Post
- Private home insurance and other wildfire-related claims
- Landlords and tenants
- Additional resources
Financial support for wildfire evacuees
The B.C. government and the Red Cross are working together to provide financial assistance for people impacted by the 2021 wildfire season.
Financial assistance will be provided by the Red Cross to eligible households in one of three ways:
- $2,000 to eligible B.C. households whose primary residence has been severely affected by this season’s wildfires, based on structural loss information provided by EMBC; or
- $2,000 to eligible households who were evacuated from the Lytton region due to wildfires; or
- $1,200 for B.C. households under mandatory evacuation order for longer than 10 consecutive days during the 2021 wildfire season.
People can access these funds by registering with the Red Cross by calling 1 800 863-6582, Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm (Pacific time), Saturday and Sunday between 8 am and 4 pm (Pacific time). Payments will be made by e-transfer.
For more information on the Canadian Red Cross response to wildfires, visit www.redcross.ca/2021bcfires
Emergency Support Services (ESS)
If you have been evacuated due to wildfire, register with Emergency Support Services whether or not you need support, so loved ones and communities know where you are and that you are safe.
Register online or by phone:
- Evacuee Registration and Assistance online tool: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
- Emergency Support Services registration toll-free phone line: 1 800 585-9559
ESS reception centres are available for evacuated residents who are without access to other sources of support, such as private insurance coverage or friends and family who can help. In many cases, home or tenant insurance actually provides greater support than what is available through ESS, so be sure to speak with your insurance representative to see what’s available to you.
If required, services may include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and information about the crisis. There may also be special services like first aid, child-minding, pet care and transportation.
Smoky air, extreme heat and the stress of being evacuated or on alert may heighten personal health issues. Learn about how you can protect yourself from wildfire smoke.
8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. The 8-1-1 phone line is operated by HealthLink BC, which is part of the Ministry of Health.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has created fact sheets with information about wildfire smoke and its health impacts:
- Health effects of wildfire smoke
- Portable air cleaners for wildfire smoke
- Wildfire smoke and air quality
- The composition of wildfire smoke
- Wildfire smoke and outdoor exercise
- Wildfire smoke and Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)
- Home-made box air fan filters
- Face masks for wildfire smoke
If your home, family or livelihood are affected by wildfire, your mental health can be impacted. It is important to know that no matter how you are feeling, you are not alone and there is help.
The following mental health and wellness services provide short term emotional support to callers and match people with professional help available locally or elsewhere in the province.
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention – BC Crisis Centres: If you are in crisis now please call any of the crisis line numbers listed below or dial your local emergency telephone number (often 9-1-1).
- BC Crisis Line: 310-6789 (no need to dial area code)
- 1-800 (SUICIDE) or 1 800 784-2433
- KUU-US Crisis Line – Crisis line for Indigenous Elders, adults and youth (1-800-588-8717)
- Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
Agriculture and ranching
Find emergency management information for agriculture, including information on emergency relocation of livestock. Other programs include:
- Western Livestock Price Insurance program
- Agriculture Wildlife Program
The governments of B.C. and Canada are providing financial support for B.C. farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses through wildfires, record heat and prolonged drought in 2021. The support includes creating a federal-provincial AgriRecovery response, changes to the AgriStability program, and an emergency feed program for commercial livestock businesses impacted by wildfires.
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has information on accessing Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, accessing a temporary confirmation of registration document for First Nations individuals and other services. Find information on the Government of Canada’s response and its supports and benefits during this wildfire season.
Find BC Hydro bill help for British Columbians who are evacuated.
ICBC has expedited processes in place to help evacuees with their claims, driver licensing or identification needs.
For ICBC customers who need to report a claim related to wildfire damage, it can be done online at Report a claim (icbc.com) or by phone at any time. To report a claim over the phone call 1-800-910-4222.
For updated information on mail delivery interruptions, and information about mail forwarding if you’ve been evacuated, visit Canada Post.
Private home insurance and other wildfire-related claims
Information about private home insurance and other private insurance claims related to wildfire is available through the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Consumer Information Centre.
Information for landlords and tenants
Information for landlords and tenants impacted by the 2021 wildfire season is available through the Residential Tenancy Branch.
The Province of BC works closely with First Nations, local authorities and businesses to ensure programs are in place to help those impacted by seasonal emergencies and disasters. Information is available for:
- First Nations support
- PreparedBC: Recovering after a wildfire
- Individual and family recovery programs
- Business and agriculture recovery programs