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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
COVID-19 exposure announced at Lake Country school

SD 23 announced the exposure at George Elliot Secondary over the weekend

Allison O’Neil. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Okanagan College prof encourages women to excel in math and science

Allison O’Neil is works in the engineering department at the Kelowna campus

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Kelowna Fire Department members are cleaning up a two-vehicle collision on Harvey Avenue at Dilworth Drive Sunday afternoon, Feb. 28. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna crews clear up highway collision

Two vehicles involved in incident at Dilworth Drive and Harvey Avenue

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Most Read