Recovery from the 2017 wildfires needs to remain a focus for the Cariboo Regional District and become part of its emergency response plan moving forward.
That is one of the main suggestions wildfire recovery manager Stephanie Masun made in a report presented to the CRD board Friday.
“It doesn’t mean that some have not fully recovered,” she told the board. “Recovery is part and parcel of emergency management planning. When we have a response we also have a recovery.”
The four primary areas of recovery management are people, infrastructure, economy and environment, she added.
Masun’s report is the culmination of work she did during her six-month contract with the CRD from October through March.
During that time she attended all 22 community consultation meetings, met with other organizations and residents, one-on-one on the phone or in person.
“There are many organizations working on the ground right now, just as there were many organizations working on the ground during the response,” Masun said, noting recovery work is very well supported by faith-based and community organizations in the region.
Responding, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall said many faith-based organizations in his community are losing federal funding because of their beliefs.
“It’s almost a double whammy,” he said. “Because they will not denounce their faith they are losing funding, and that’s hurting our communities as well. I have been approached by three different faith-based organizations that don’t know what to do because they have lost their funding.”
Advocacy is also something that needs to be emphasized because not everyone can self-advocate and even those who can self-advocate cannot always navigate the systems in the most effective way, Masun said, adding for the most part people living in the region are self-reliant and hardworking.
”When we did re-enter after the event we went right back to work. Toward the end of my contract I was still meeting people that were just getting ready to start seeking resources to help with their own recovery.”
Along with an incident specific recovery plan that she prepared earlier, Masun’s wildfire recovery report will go to the CRD’s protective services department to help inform its planning.