Telegraph Creek Fires – Sept 21 Update

Tahltan Strong EOC Logo - horiz - 5 days a week - red

The Tahltan EOC is where people and resources come together to manage and coordinate the emergency response to the wildfires that affected the Telegraph Creek region.

The primary roles of the centre are to:

  • Centralize and coordinate efforts of government officials, response agencies and private sector partners,
  • Facilitate long term response operations,
  • Provide access to response information, and
  • Identify and allocate resources.

The Tahltan EOC is open Monday -Friday (9-5). The Telegraph Creek Region remains under a State of Emergency and Telegraph Creek still has an evacuation order in place – from the Tahltan Band and the Regional District Kitimat-Stikine. Emergency Social Services (ESS) will continue until the orders are rescinded.

Even though the wildfire threat is diminished, the community of Telegraph Creek is NOT SAFE to return to or live in, until the dangers in the community have been removed.

Highway 51

  • The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has re-opened the highway to KM105, as they have determined this part of the highway presents no risk to the public
  • Remains closed at KM105
  • Flaggers are in place near the transfer station
  • Permits are still required for crews entering Telegraph Creek
  • Permits can be provided to essential services and on a case-by-case basis, please visit/call the Tahltan EOC in Dease Lake

Emergency Social Services (ESS)

Community members who lost their homes due to wildfires are now eligible for 14-day extensions.

For those affected by evacuation orders, the extensions are approved on either a three or 7-day extension

ESS extensions are available at:

  • The Peoples Haven on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 pm – 5 pm.
  • The Terrace Reception Centre within the Regional District Kitimat/Stikine Office on Wednesday and Thursday from 1 pm – 5pm

Telegraph Creek Safety Assessments, Re-entry and Recovery

Technical assessments (water, slope stability, septic system and danger trees) in Telegraph Creek were completed on September 6th.

Initial slope assessments have come back as low risk but will continue to be monitored.

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.

The water system has been cleaned and flushed. The last round of tests are being conducted this week to ensure the water has no health-related risks. The do not consume water notice is still in effect for TC.

Assessments relating to debris removal have been completed and a landfill site for this debris has been confirmed. A contract for this debris removal and community cleanup has been signed and this work will start over the next coming days.

We are waiting on the results from the hazardous materials assessments for damaged homes. Results from these assessments will allow us to determine a safe date for the public to return to TC.

Leadership met with the insurance company representatives this week.  We are in the planning phase for cleaning and restoring the remaining houses in Telegraph Creek.  A work camp will be set up on the airport to house these workers.

Feddie Louie has been hired as Recovery Manager by the Tahltan Band for the Telegraph Creek community rebuild. She will be working from the Tahltan EOC office as of Monday, September 24th.

Temporary Housing Updates

Clearing, layout and septic design has been completed for the modular homes in Telegraph Creek.  A waste water system and foundations for the units will be built over the next few weeks.

We are working to establish temporary housing in Dease Lake. Renovations to the Stikine Housing’s 13 housing units are underway.

A 15-person camp is being set up in Dease Lake for members who are currently housed at the Tanzilla (as it is being winterized and shut down soon). We are expecting to have people transition over the next few weeks.

We thank you for your patience – the Tahltan Band, Iskut Band, Tahltan Central Government, Emergency Management BC, the Regional District, and so many others are working around the clock to get the TC community back home as soon as possible.

Community Meetings

Meeting minutes from previous community meetings can be found HERE.

A community meeting will be scheduled in Dease Lake during the week of September 24th – with details shared once date and time are confirmed.

Alkali Lake Wildfire No Longer Considered a “Wildfire of Note”

The final update for the Alkali Lake fire was published on August 29th by the BC Wildfire Services. This fire is no longer considered a Wildfire of Note, meaning it is not a threat to any surrounding communities.

The estimated size of the fire is 118,318 hectares and an updated map can be found HERE.

If anyone wants updated information on the fire they can contact the Northwest Fire Centre in Smithers 250 847-6639.

Tahltan Evacuee Services

Support for Tahltan Evacuees with School-Aged Children

The Tahltan Band is providing funding for school supplies. Application forms can be found at the Iskut Band Office and the Peoples Haven, with copies HERE.

Once community members have been able to return to TC, an effort will be made to re-open the Tahltan School for students to complete the 2018-19 school year in the community.

Employment Insurance

Tahltan members who are unable to work due to evacuation are encouraged to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits using the following wildfire reference code: 5986015986598600. Call 1-800-206-7218 for more information

Support from the Red Cross

Telegraph Creek evacuees may also contact Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 to book an appointment for a confidential assessment for early recovery assistance and referrals to external supports. Assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis to assist with basic needs, such as food or clothing, and medical needs. Call centre agents are available Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm PT.

Dease Lake

People’s Haven – 9am-9pm, ESS services, health and social support services, donation center, general support for community members and families and Emergency Reception Centre 250-771-5577.

Samaritans Purse Meals, social support services, disaster relief/ash sifting 250-771-3056.


Iskut Band Office – Education and Membership Services, ESS services on call 250-234-3331.

Iskut Valley Health Services – Health and social support services 250-234-3511.


Cultural and Youth Events – Regular activities are being organized by Annita McPhee 604-339-4393

Northwest Integrative Healthcare Centre – Mental support services 250-635-0980.

Terrace Reception Centre – FNHA and ESS services 4545 Lazelle Ave 250-615-6100 | ESS Emergency Hotline 250-641-2443

Indian Residential School Survivors Society – Mental support services 250-975-0567

Pharmasave – Medications refills 250-635-2206

Donation Centre – Food, toiletries, blankets 5412 Highway 16 West, 9am to 9pm

Spotless Drycleaners & Laundromat – Free laundry services for Tahltan members, please call the EOC for the account number 250-771-5050


Those interested in donating to the Telegraph Creek Relief Fund, please contact Calvin Carlick, Executive Director, Tahltan Central Government. Email: 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.