“Tahltan Strong is the slogan used, but this action of hope is much more than that, it is nations united. So many people from so many walks of life have come together. It is so overwhelming to know that they are here to help, from bake sales to hampers to flats of water. This is what life and love is about. Holding each other up when we are at our weakest, no matter who we are we can’t forget who is there. Let us always remember the stranger that walked into our offices saying I’m here to help”
Sonnia Dennis, A Letter from Tahltan
The Tahltan EOC would like to give a sincere thank you and round of applause to the long list of individuals who made the re-entry into Telegraph Creek possible. The work and energy that was required to respond to this type of emergency took a toll on the mind, body and spirit and these sacrifices did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
A special thanks to everyone who turned a statistic of the worst structural damage by wildfires experienced by any First Nations community in Canadian history into a story of resilience. In the face of this tragedy, remarkable leadership and collaboration shined a light on the power of the Tahltan Nation. Telegraph Creek may never look the same, but our members and leadership have risen from the ash with a new found strength and determination to “build it better”.
As of January 19th, we moved into the recovery stage of the wildfire response. This means that the Tahltan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) closed its doors in Dease Lake and staff returned to their positions within the Band.
Tahltan Band Council staff and council will be actively involved throughout the recovery stage. Derek Ingram, EOC Planning Lead, has been hired as the Recovery Manager and will be leading the Wildfire Recovery process. The Recovery Manager is a shared position, between RDKS and the Tahltan Band. Derek will oversee and coordinate the development of community, environment and economic recovery planning. Trina-Anne Zubek will act as the Deputy Recovery Manager.
Wildfire Recovery Newsletters
Updates on the Telegraph Creek Wildfire Recovery process are being communicated through bi-weekly newsletters. Please see Wildfire Recovery Newsletters that have been published to date below:
Telegraph Creek Wildfire Response Archive
Re-Entry into Telegraph Creek
Evacuees were able to return to Telegraph Creek at the beginning of November 15th , with all members returning home in time for Christmas.
Emergency Social Services (ESS)
As of December 21st, Emergency Social Services (ESS) ended for everyone, including members who decided to not return to Telegraph Creek or move into temporary housing. If you need further assistance, please be in contact with your Case Worker.
We are very thankful for all the volunteers that have been providing ESS over the past 5 months. From our knowledge, this has been one of the longest ESS delivery in BC.
Temporary Housing in Telegraph Creek
The 8 new modular homes were installed on November 29th.
All construction crews were out of Telegraph Creek by December 19th.
Services in Telegraph Creek
Fuel and food is now available at the store.
Health services will be available to community members through FNHA.
The TC Post Office re-opened in the Tahltan Store on January 21st.
Telegraph Creek Safety Assessments
Technical assessments (water, slope stability, septic system and danger trees) in Telegraph Creek were completed on September 6th.
- The do not consumer water order has been lifted. The system has been scrubbed and sterilized and deemed potable.
- Initial slope assessments have come back as low risk but will continue to be monitored.
- Septic fields have been repaired and tanks are being flushed and emptied.
- Debris removal and community cleanup started Monday, September 24th.
- Danger tree removal in Telegraph Creek has been completed. All usable wood has been decked on the side of the road – ready to be hauled, bucked and split for firewood.
- Northwestel has repaired all telecommunication systems
Further details on hazard and safety assessments along with progress on temporary housing can be found in the updates below:
Dates and times for upcoming community meetings will be released when the information becomes available.
Terrace, August 30th
Iskut, August 27th
Terrace, August 20th
Those interested in donating to support the recovery of Telegraph Creek please contact Calvin Carlick, Executive Director, Tahltan Central Government. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (250)-771-3274
The Tahltan Nation and all its governing bodies and communities are extremely grateful for the international and local firefighting efforts, volunteers, ongoing support and all the donations over the course of this devastating event.
An unmet needs committee has been formed to review the current needs that exist within the community of Telegraph Creek. Donated funds have yet to be spent and will be allocated based on the committees review.
Alkali Lake Wildfire – Last Update August 29th
This is the final burn area of the ‘Alkali Lake’ fire; no further updates will be posted. If you require further updates on this fire, please contact the Northwest fire centre.
Cleanup and rebuilding underway in Telegraph Creek, B.C., after destructive wildfires – Nov 27 – CBC News https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/telegraph-creek-wildfire-evacuation-ended-1.4921647
Taking stock in what was lost, and saved in B.C. after the Telegraph Creek fire – Oct 20 – National News http://aptnnews.ca/2018/10/20/taking-stock-in-what-was-lost-and-saved-in-b-c-after-the-telegraph-creek-fire/
Education Students Fundraise for Telegraph Creek – Oct 19 – MyUVic Life https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/myuviclife/2018/10/19/education-students-fundraise-for-telegraph-creek/
Telegraph Creek a ‘construction zone’ as crews rebuild after wildfire – Oct 18 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/telegraph-creek-crews-rebuild-1.4867287
Tahltan Strong benefit concerts raise more than $86k for Telegraph Creek – Oct 12 – Yukon News https://www.yukon-news.com/news/tahltan-strong-benefit-concerts-raise-more-than-86k-for-telegraph-creek/
Telegraph Creek evacuees, families gather for Thanksgiving in Terrace – Oct 11 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/community/telegraph-creek-evacuees-families-gather-for-thanksgiving-in-terrace/
Telegraph Creek evacuation order will stretch into winter – Oct 5 – The Interior News https://www.interior-news.com/news/telegraph-creek-evacuation-order-will-stretch-into-winter/
Telegraph Creek evacuation order will stretch into winter – Oct 1 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/news/telegraph-creek-evacuation-order-will-stretch-into-winter/
Tahltan First Nation faces many more months away from home after wildfire devastation – Sept 28 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/tahltan-first-nation-wildfire-1.4842553
Members of a B.C. First Nation won’t be able to return home for months after this summer’s wildfires – Sept 27 – The Star https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/09/27/members-of-a-bc-first-nation-wont-be-able-to-return-home-for-months-after-this-summers-wildfires.html
First Nation won’t be able to go home for months after wildfires – Sept 27 – CTV News Vancouver https://bc.ctvnews.ca/first-nation-won-t-be-able-to-go-home-for-months-after-wildfires-1.4112780
Fundraising for fire evacuees – Sept 12 – Yukon News https://www.yukon-news.com/entertainment/fundraising-for-fire-evacuees/
Chief says Telegraph Creek, B.C. wildfire area looks like scene from war film – Sept 8 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/tahltan-chief-telegraph-creek-bad-shape-1.4816141
School start delayed for kids and teachers in fire evacuation zones – Sept 2 – Vancouver Sun https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/school-start-delayed-for-kids-teachers-in-b-c-fire-evacuation-zones
Terrace raises more than $5000 for Telegraph Creek – Aug 16 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/community/huge-turnout-in-terrace-for-telegraph-creek-fundraiser/
Fire near Telegraph Creek still growing – Aug 31 – KSTK https://www.kstk.org/2018/08/31/fire-near-telegraph-creek-still-growing/
Telegraph Creek wildfire downgraded – Aug 30 – The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal https://www.ashcroftcachecreekjournal.com/news/telegraph-creek-wildfire-downgraded/
Four fires merge near Telegraph Creek – Aug 23 – Castlegar News https://www.castlegarnews.com/news/four-fires-merge-near-telegraph-creek/
Change in the weather expected for fire-ridden B.C. this weekend – Aug 23 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-weather-forecast-1.4796676
Tahltan government requests hunting ban throughout territory – Aug 23 – Northern View https://www.thenorthernview.com/opinion/tahltan-government-requests-hunting-ban-throughout-territory/
B.C. wildfire worsens existing housing crisis in Telegraph Creek – Aug 22 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/telegraph-creek-housing-crisis-bc-wildfire-1.4794917
Hunting ban sought throughout Tahltan territory – Aug 21 – Whitehorse Daily Star https://www.whitehorsestar.com/News/hunting-ban-sought-throughout-tahltan-territory
‘A lot of devastation’: B.C. wildfire evacuees share stories of loss – Aug 16 – CTV News https://bc.ctvnews.ca/a-lot-of-devastation-b-c-wildfire-evacuees-share-stories-of-loss-1.4055821
Australian firefighters join Telegraph Creek efforts – Aug 14 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/news/australian-firefighters-join-telegraph-creek-efforts/
Reception centre greets 15 displaced fire victims – Aug 13 – Whitehorse Daily Star https://www.whitehorsestar.com/News/reception-centre-greets-15-displaced-fire-victims
Yukoners rally to support Telegraph Creek residents displaced by fire – Aug 10 – Yukon News https://www.yukon-news.com/news/yukoners-rally-to-support-telegraph-creek-residents-displaced-by-fire/
Cariboo First Nations affected by 2017 fires send experts, supplies to Tahltan Nation at Telegraph Creek – Aug 10 – Williams Lake Tribune https://www.wltribune.com/news/cariboo-first-nations-affected-by-2017-fires-send-experts-supplies-to-tahltan-nation-at-telegraph-creek/
Members of the Tahltan Nation hold out hope as forest fires continue to rip through area – Aug 10 – National News http://aptnnews.ca/2018/08/10/members-of-the-tahltan-nation-hold-out-hope-as-forest-fires-continue-to-rip-through-area/
‘Reality has not set in yet’: Family recounts losing home in Telegraph Creek fire – Aug 10 – Vancouver Sun https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/reality-has-not-set-in-yet-family-recounts-losing-home-in-telegraph-creek-fire
B.C. shows overwhelming support for Telegraph Creek – Aug 9 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/news/b-c-shows-overwhelming-support-for-telegraph-creek/
Rancher fears for 30 horses left behind near Telegraph Creek as fire rages on – Aug 9 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vernon-marion-horses-1.4779634
As ‘God’s country’ burns in northern BC, the Tahltan people pull together – Aug 8 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/as-god-s-country-burns-in-northern-b-c-the-tahltan-people-pull-together-1.4778625
In the news today, Aug 8 – Aug 8 – National Post https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/in-the-news-today-aug-8
Donation drive for wildfire affected Telegraph Creek – Aug 8 – Terrace Standard https://www.terracestandard.com/news/donation-drive-for-wildfire-affected-telegraph-creek/
Wildfires have ravaged 27 structures in Telegraph Creek in northwest B.C., officials say – Aug 8 – National Post https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/wildfires-have-ravaged-27-structures-in-telegraph-creek-in-northwest-b-c-officials-say
‘We’ve got one hell of a fire in a really bad place’: Alkali Lake fire hits Telegraph Creek – Aug 7 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/we-ve-got-one-hell-of-a-fire-in-a-really-bad-place-alkali-lake-fire-hits-telegraph-creek-1.4776858
Yukoners taking groceries, supplies to Telegraph Creek fire evacuees – Aug 7 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-telegraph-creek-fire-donations-1.4777048
Yukon MLA helps family and friends leave fire-threatened Telegraph Creek – Aug 6 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-telegraph-creek-dendys-fire-1.4775768
Severe drought conditions exacerbating wildfires in northern B.C. – Aug 6 – The Georgia Straight https://www.straight.com/news/1112816/severe-drought-conditions-exacerbating-wildfires-northern-bc
B.C. Wildfires 2018: Latest communities evacuated include Telegraph Creek – Aug 5 – CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-telegraph-creek-1.4775127