Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government to Supply More Funds for B.C. Wildfire Response

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government to Supply More Funds for B.C. Wildfire Response

Article excerpt

Feds promise more funds for B.C. wildfire response

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The federal government is promising more funding to support residents affected by raging wildfires in British Columbia as some of the thousands of people displaced prepare to return home.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government will supply $600 per household evacuated due to wildfires and $300 for their eventual return -- funds that will be managed and distributed by the Canadian Red Cross.

"It will be a long haul and the Government of Canada fully intends to stand with the people of British Columbia every step of the way to participate in supporting the effort of getting things recovered and back to a normal life," he told a news conference in Kamloops on Saturday.

The total amount the government will be supplying is unclear, because Goodale said the number of evacuees is still fluctuating and the wildfire season in the province is only in beginning.

The provincial government has already provided $100 million to the Red Cross in response to the crisis.

Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said approximately $10 million of that fund has been spent on the 44,000 people currently displaced and more money will follow as needed.

Goodale said not all the funding to the Red Cross will be directly given to households, but will support other initiatives to get communities functioning again.

He said following the fire in Fort McMurray, Alta., last year, the Red Cross distributed money to other social services in the community such as the Salvation Army and United Way, and also supported small businesses so people could get back to work.

Federal officials involved in the response to the fires, including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, were in B.C. this weekend to assess the crisis and offer more support.

Sajjan said 250 members of the Canadian Armed Forces that were announced earlier this week to be supporting RCMP are now on the ground.

He said more military personnel and aircraft are on standby.

In addition to the funding for the Red Cross, officials said the Canada Revenue Agency is implementing emergency tax relief measures to help take pressure off people concerned about their families, homes and communities. …

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