“We are working very hard to get our members back into their homes. We thank you for your patience and realize it’s been almost 8 weeks since you left your home. Progress is being made, but we still have a lot of work to do to make the community safe and healthy. We have assigned specific case workers to every evacuee to provide one-on-one support and information as we begin to restore each home. Your case worker will contact you directly and introduce themselves. A community re-entry date has not been set as we are waiting on a work schedule from the contractors who have been hired by the insurance company to clean homes. I want to acknowledge everyone who is working hard to get our community back to liveable state.” Feddie Louie, Tahltan EOC Director, Recovery Manager
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 Emergency Social Services (ESS) will continue until the orders are rescinded.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 remediated.
Minister Fraser from the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) has confirmed a visit to Dease Lake and TC on October 10, 2018. Minister Philpott from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) accompanied by FNHA and AFN representatives will also be visiting on October 16, 2018.
- 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 (9 – 12), Wednesday (1 – 4) and Friday (9 – 4)
- The Terrace Reception Centre within the Regional District Kitimat/Stikine Office on Wednesday and Thursday (1 – 5)
- Iskut Band Office on Thursday (9 – 4)
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.
- The do not consumer water is still in effect. The system has been scrubbed and sterilized and we are waiting for results from the last round of testing.
- 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 useable wood has been decked on the side of the road – ready to be hauled, bucked and split for firewood.
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.
Northwestel will be going into TC later this week and expect to have telecommunication system repaired and fully operational by October 12, 2018
Leadership has been working very closely with insurance company representatives. We hope to understand the scope of restoration work required, along with contractors selected over the next coming weeks. A work camp will be set up on the airport to house these workers.
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.
The 15-person camp with a kitchen arrived on September 25th and is being set up this week. The housing unit will be managed by Safehouse staff and further details will be released as they develop.
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.
Meeting minutes from previous community meetings can be found on the Tahltan Band website, www.tahltan.ca/tcwildfires
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.
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 on the Tahltan Band website www.tahltan.ca/tcwildfires
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.
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.
People’s Haven – 9 to 9 (M-F), ESS services, health and social support services, general support for community members and families and Emergency Reception Centre 250-771-5577.
Samaritans Purse – Meals for evacuees and social support services 250-771-3056.
Old Post Office – Donation Centre, open Tuesday to Saturday (1 – 4) 250-771-5577
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: email@example.com Phone: (250)-771-3274
Upcoming Events and Activities
Regalia Making – Starting October 1st at the Peoples Haven. Shawls, vests and aprons will be made Monday to Thursday (9 – 3) and Monday to Wednesday (6:30 – 9). Materials will be provided.
Quilting Group – Tuesday evenings (7 – 9) at the Peoples Haven. Evacuees will be provided materials to get started on a small project.
Community Sewing Project – Monday to Thursday (9 – 3) at the Peoples Haven, evacuees and community members are invited to create a display blanket for Tahltan Day, October 18th. Squares are some material will be provided.
Sewing Group – Monday to Friday (1 – 5) at the Tahltan Donation Centre
Thanksgiving Dinner – A thanksgiving dinner is being organized on October 6th in Terrace for evacuees. Details will be released soon.
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.