The BC SPCA is escalating rescue efforts to help animals impacted by B.C.’s raging wildfires.
“Our staff and volunteers have been very active in supporting emergency services in affected areas, but as the wildfires spread we are escalating our involvement,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.
“The animal evacuation centre being operated by the Prince George Humane Society with the support of the SPCA is now full so the BC SPCA has set up a second Evacuation Dog Care Site in the Duchess Park Warehouse at 747 Winnipeg Street in Prince George,” says Chortyk. “There are currently 35 dogs in care but the facility has the capacity to handle more incoming dogs.” Dog owners will be referred to the SPCA-run centre by local Emergency Social Services personnel.
The BC SPCA has also deployed a number of special constables from its cruelty investigations department to a base camp in Clearwater, where they will be providing support in rescuing animals trapped behind fire evacuation lines.
“In addition we have transferred more than 130 homeless animals in our care from SPCA shelters in the Cariboo region to our facilities in the Interior, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to free up space for temporary emergency sheltering for animals impacted by the fires,” says Chortyk.
She said the BC SPCA has also contacted large pet supply companies about shipping urgently needed pet food and supplies to evacuation centres.
In areas where evacuated families are seeking temporary shelter the BC SPCA is also offering free spaces for kids in their week-long summer camps (as capacity allows).
“The situation and the needs are changing on a daily basis, but the BC SPCA is in regular contact with provincial and local ESS officials and our staff and volunteers are ready and willing to help however we can,” said Chortyk.
The BC SPCA has set up a special online emergency donation site (spca.bc.ca/emergencyalert) to help animals affected by the wildfires.
The BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre (1-855-622-7722) is now also fielding calls from pet owners in the Cariboo Regional District who require officers to attend, feed/water animals and remove animals if given the authority to do so by the owners. Currently the call centre is managing calls from the 100, 103, 108, 150 Mile areas as well as Lac La Hache and Williams Lake.
More than 10,000 people are under evacuation orders as firefighters battle more than 231 wildfires covering 320 square kilometres in the B.C. Interior.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says 98 new fires broke out within the last 24 hours.
The B.C. Wildfire Service has an interactive map that lists all active fires in British Columbia. Included on the map — and represented by the large flames — are 17 fires of note that pose a potential threat to public safety.
The Canadian Press reported that 300 firefighters and support staff from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick were expected to start arriving Monday to help relieve the pressure on roughly 1,000 B.C. firefighters battling the blazes.
A provincewide state of emergency was declared on Friday after 140 new fires broke out, in part due to a significant lightning system that hit central B.C. About 100 new fires broke out on Saturday.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, said gusty winds and hot, dry conditions are expected to continue for days.
“Unfortunately, in terms of the weather forecast, we’re not really seeing any reprieve in the immediate future,” he said.
SMOKE SEEN FROM SPACE
Environment Canada says smoke from B.C. wildfires is clouding satellite images of the province.
A special air quality statement has been issued for most of the B.C. interior. The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, has issued a Smoky Skies Advisory for the Cariboo, Thompson, Shuswap, Okanagan, 100 Mile, Prince George, Similkameen, Fraser Canyon and Nicola regions.
Residents in those areas are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk. People who have trouble breathing are advised to stay inside.
CAMP FIRE BAN IS NOW PROVINCE-WIDE
Effective 8 a.m. Monday, all open fires (including campfires) are prohibited throughout British Columbia.
The Northwest Fire Centre was the final region to bring in the ban.
“This prohibition is being implemented due to current weather conditions and the volume of fires that the BC Wildfire Service is responding to in the province. More lightning is in the forecast and firefighting resources must focus on existing fires and new, naturally occurring fires,” B.C. Wildfire Services said in a release. “This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 21, 2017, or until the public is otherwise notified.”
The following activities are prohibited:
• Category 2 open fires
• Category 3 open fires
• Burning of any waste, slash or other materials
• Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area
• The use of stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses that are not CSA-approved or ULC-approved
• Fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves
• Use of tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
• Use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)
This prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.
RED CROSS APPEALS FOR DONATIONS
The Red Cross is appealing for donations to help wildfire victim. The donations, which can be made online, will help provide immediate relief such as cots, blankets, family reunification and financial assistance for food, clothing and personal needs.
B.C. Liquor Stores will be collecting funds for the B.C. Fires Red Cross relief effort. Liquor store patrons can make donations of $2 or $5 — or multiples of either — by adding it to their order at the checkout counter.
KEEPING TRACK OF LOVED ONES
Interior Health has set up a call line for families whose loved ones have been relocated from health facilities due to wildfire activity in the Cariboo and Thompson-Nicola regions.
“Residential care and assisted living clients, and hospital patients, have been or are being moved from facilities in Ashcroft, 100 Mile House and Williams Lake. Given the sheer number of individuals needing to be moved to other communities, and in a short period of time, Interior Health has not been able to contact all families,” Interior Health said in a release.
Ashcroft Reserve: The interface fire near Ashcroft expanded to 6,100 hectares on Monday. A crew including 120 firefighters, eight helicopters, heavy equipment and support personnel are on site today. An evacuation order was issued on Thursday. Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta said a fire burning between Ashcroft and Cache Creek had destroyed dozens of buildings, including at least five houses, 30 trailer park homes and two hangars at a regional airport.
Princeton: A fire burning north of Princeton has grown to an estimate 1,500 hectares. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has issued an evacuation order for the area. A crew of 50 firefighters and two helicopters are fighting the blaze.
Dunn Lake: A pair of wildfires near Dunn Lake, 90 kilometres north of Kamloops, has spread to 1,300 hectares. The B.C. Wildfire Service says some structures are threatened by none have been destroyed. The Thompson Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation order. The terrain in this area is very rocky and is providing challenging access for heavy equipment. Smoke is thick is the surrounding area, hampering visibility to crews and aircraft.
Cariboo Fire Centre
150 Mile House: Just south of Williams Lake, the 150 Mile House Fire is estimated to have spread to 2,500 hectares. The fire is listed as out of control — zero per cent contained — but the B.C. Wildfire Service says crews have had some success today in building containment lines on both the west and east flanks of the fire yesterday. The Cariboo Regional District has issued an evacuation order for affected areas.
Dragon Mountain: Approximately 25 kilometres southeast of Quesnel, the Dragon Mountain fire has grown to an estimated 1,500 hectares. The B.C. Wildfire service says crews are focussing on containing the fire and protecting critical infrastructure in the area.
Gustafsen: Just west of 100 Mile House, the Gustafsen wildfire is grown to 5,000 hectares. A wind shift Sunday evening caused a significant increase in fire behaviour that has resulted in the community of 100 Mile House being threatened. An evacuation order was put in place Sunday evening for the district of 100 Mile House. More than 100 firefighters as well as an Incident Management Team and support staff, helicopters, air tankers, and 30 pieces of heavy equipment will be on site today.
Hanceville: Fires are burning more than 10,000 hectares in the Hanceville area, located 60 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. The B.C. Wildfire Service says this incident involves numerous fires over a large area of approximately 25 kilometres by 40 kilometres. The Cariboo Regional District has issued an evacuation order for affected areas.
Wildwood: The fire burning in the Wildwood area near the Williams Lake Airport has grown to 2,000 hectares. The fire is zero per cent contained by crews had success in anchoring the base of the fire into Highway 97 Sunday, meaning they are building containment lines to work from. The focus is on protecting Highway 97 and the community of Wildwood.
Soda Creek: The Soda Creek fire sparked up Saturday night 25 kilometres northwest of Williams Lake, is about 100 hectares in size and is threatening buildings.
Harrison Lake: Currently the only active fire in the Coastal Fire Centre region, the 185-hectare Harrison Lake blaze has been burning since July 1 and is now listed at 40 per cent contained. An area restriction order and a forest service road closure has been issued to clear this area of recreationalists. No structures are currently threatened.
Prince George Fire Centre
2.5 km East of War Lake: 16 Firefighters and one helicopter are being used to battle this 55 hectare fire. Another 10 firefighters are en route. The fire is listed as out of control but 50 per cent contained.
5 W of Tatelkuz Lake: The B.C. Wildfire Service says this 950 hectare interface fire has burnt up the edge of private land. An evacuation alert has been issued by Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
Big Bend Creek: The fire, which was believed to be started by lightning on Saturday, is listed at 960 hectares and out of control. An evacuation alert is in effect
As we celebrate Canada’s 150th year anniversary this weekend and kick off the summer season, ICBC and police are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if any of your activities this summer involve alcohol.
Each year in B.C., 66 people die in crashes involving impaired driving and nearly half* of those deaths happen during summer months. On Canada Day, 180 people are injured and one person is killed in 640 crashes every year in B.C.
If you plan to drink, leave your car at home. With many options available – like arranging a designated driver, calling a taxi or taking transit—there’s no excuse to drink and drive.
If you’re hosting a celebration this summer and plan to serve alcohol, a new ICBC special event permit kit is free to order on icbc.com. It’ll also be featured if you apply for an event liquor permit on BCLiquorStores.com. The kits includes items to encourage guests to not drink if they’re the designated driver or find a safe ride home.
Starting this long weekend, police are stepping up their enforcement of impaired drivers at CounterAttack roadchecks throughout B.C. ICBC road safety and community coordinators are also increasing public education at community events throughout the province.
ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year as well as funding for CounterAttack enhanced police enforcement. Learn more facts in ICBC’s infographic.
“Police are out on B.C. roads looking to remove impaired drivers at multiple CounterAttack roadchecks this summer,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “The dangers of impaired driving are real, the consequences can be life changing. Don’t be the reason someone doesn’t make it home. Plan ahead, don’t drink and drive—for everyone’s sake.”
“Celebrating 150 years of Canadian history is a major milestone and there’s going to be a lot of festivities, but no matter the summer activity that’s no excuse to drive impaired,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “We’re doing all we can to educate and deter this dangerous behaviour, but we need everyone to make smart decisions to make B.C. roads safer.”
In the Lower Mainland, an average of 16 people are killed in impaired-related crashes every year.
On Vancouver Island, an average of 10 people are killed in impaired-related crashes every year.
In the Southern Interior, an average of 23 people are killed in impaired-related crashes every year.
In the North Central region, an average of 19 people are killed in impaired-related crashes every year.
Canada Day statistics***
Each year 130 people are injured in 390 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.
Each year 19 people are injured in 95 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.
Each year 22 people are injured in 100 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.
Each year six people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.
Lower Mainland media will be invited to attend an evening CounterAttack roadcheck on Sunday, July 2; police will issue a media advisory. Several police detachments throughout B.C. will also invite media to attend CounterAttack roadchecks in their communities on July 2.
*42 per cent based on police data (2011 to 2015).
**Fatal victim counts are from police data (2011 to 2015). Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.
***Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2011 to 2015) and fatal victims from police data (2011 to 2015).
Now that Google Home is available in Canada, Kanetix Ltd. is making it even easier for consumers to compare insurance quotes and mortgage rates. All that’s needed now to find the best rates is to ask Google Home questions like:
Plus, beginning July 4, 2017 Google Home users will also be able to get auto insurance quotes from Kanetix.ca.
Innovating the InsurTech landscape Smart speakers are one of the most trending technologies in North America, and Kanetix Ltd. is the first to use this voice activated technology for insurance quotes and mortgage rates in Canada. This innovative new approach to helping Canadians find the personal finance products they need, can be accessed on any android phone or iOS 9.0+ with Google Assistant or any Google Home device.
“In the constantly evolving digital space, it is imperative to stay current with new technology and use it to enhance customer experience.” explains Andrew Lo, President and COO of Kanetix Ltd.
Watch as Mr. Lo demonstrates how the AI powered technology, Google Home in this case, makes the customer experience infinitely faster and easier.
About Kanetix Ltd. Kanetix Ltd. is Canada’s largest digital customer acquisition platform for insurance and financial services. With over 8 million shoppers visiting their five consumer-facing brands yearly, Kanetix Ltd. works directly with the country’s top insurers, financial institutions and brokers. Kanetix Ltd.’s mission is to help every Canadian make better money decisions.
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulates the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto for their commitment to flood mitigation as part of an over $1.1 billion funding announcement for Waterfront Toronto.
“Recent flood events in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have demonstrated the effect that these disasters can have on communities,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, IBC. “As a society, we cannot continue to put Canadians into harm’s way. The Toronto Port Lands development will transform an industrial site into an attractive residential community. Recognizing that this is a floodplain, the federal government, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto are investing the needed funds to ensure this new community is inoculated against flood risk.”
The governments of Canada, Ontario, and Toronto announced a commitment of $1.185 billion for Waterfront Toronto. A portion of this will be devoted to protecting the area around the Toronto Port Lands from flooding including diverting the Don River to a naturalized river mouth. As more development in the area is anticipated, investments in flood mitigation will help make this community safer for residents and stronger for economic growth.
“The era of reckless floodplain development must now end”, added Stewart. “IBC is working with the federal and provincial governments, and other organizations focused on flood-related issues, to advocate for a national strategy to address flood risk. Insurance itself is not sufficient; federal and provincial governments can coordinate on a ‘whole of society’ approach to reduce risk for consumers.”
About Insurance Bureau of Canada Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.
P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.
For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.
The ILScorp offices will be closed Monday, July, 3th. as we take some time to enjoy Canada Day Long Weekend. We’ll be back Tuesday morning, ready to take your calls, answer your questions and register you for online insurance programs. You can reach us from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
You can also register for our insurance training programs online, anytime, at ILScorp.com
And for subscribers to the ILSTV insurance industry, ILSTV is taking this coming Summer off to spend some time with family. For subscribers to the ILSTV insurance industry newsletter, your daily, and weekly dose of Canadian insurance news returns to your inbox on Wednesday, Sept 6th.