Ash covers the ground in an area burned by the Shovel Lake wildfire, near Fort Fraser, B.C., on Thursday, August 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Ash covers the ground in an area burned by the Shovel Lake wildfire, near Fort Fraser, B.C., on Thursday, August 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

B.C. First Nations are owed massive debts after fighting to save homes from wildfires

First Nations affected by Elephant Hill, Shovel Lake fires still not reimbursed thousands of dollars

Many B.C. First Nations that stayed behind to stop wildfires from destroying their communities in 2017 and 2018 are still waiting to be reimbursed by the provincial and federal governments for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses.

Indigenous groups say they can’t afford to pay for training and equipment for firefighters before a crisis strikes, so they have to take on enormous debts to protect their homes as flames approach.

The Nadleh Whut’en in central B.C. are set to meet with provincial government officials Wednesday to deliver a report about their struggle to stop the massive Shovel Lake wildfire this summer.

Chief Larry Nooski says they spent $400,000 on firefighting equipment, salaries for fire crews, an emergency operations centre and security, but they have not been repaid by the various agencies responsible.

READ MORE: RCMP work to ‘neutralize’ explosives on property near Shovel Lake wildfire

The Bonaparte Indian Band spent $600,000 to fight the Elephant Hill wildfire on their territory in 2017 and have not been reimbursed about $150,000, in part because their firefighters weren’t properly certified.

Chief Ryan Day says ideally, his First Nation would have a fully certified fire crew, but it lacks the resources and carrying debt has a significant impact on essential services for his people.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read