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B.C. wildfire evacuees eligible for up to $2,000 per household

The province and the Canadian Red Cross have teamed up to provide financial relief to Lytton wildfire evacuees and other British Columbians forced to evacuate for 10 days or more.
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Residents had just minutes to evacuate Lytton on June 30.

Some financial relief is coming to British Columbians impacted by the 2021 wildfire season.

On Friday, the province announced it had teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross to provide one-time payments of $2,000 to Lytton-area households, which were levelled by fire in late June.

In a statement, the B.C. government says all other households under mandatory evacuation order for longer than 10 consecutive days during this year's wildfire season will be eligible to get a one-time payment of $1,200. All funds will be distributed by the Canadian Red Cross. 

"Those who have had to evacuate, and especially those who have lost their homes in the Lytton area, have suffered so much in the last month," says Premier John Horgan in a press release. "Beyond the current supports to address immediate needs, we're hoping that by putting cash in the pockets of those who have lost everything, we can help them find some comfort during this difficult time."

As of 7 p.m. July 29, 248 fires were active across B.C., for a total of 462,959 hectares burned. Meanwhile, 3,058 properties are on evacuation order (385 properties less than the previous day). 

Fire struck Lytton on June 30 at about 5 p.m. Residents have said they had only moments to flee, many with a few belongings and the clothes on their backs. Since then, officials have said about 90 per cent of the Fraser Canyon village was destroyed.

Evacuees from the village have spread out across B.C., with many in Kamloops, Merritt and Chilliwack. According to the province, around 488 people from the Lytton First Nation and almost 800 people from the village registered for supports through Emergency Support Services.

Each household impacted by the wildfire in the Lytton area, including the Village of Lytton and Lytton First Nation will receive the $2,000. The financial relief program for Lytton evacuees will be open until Aug. 31.

For residents impacted by all other evacuation orders for more than 10 consecutive days, applications will be accepted until 30 days after the evacuation order is lifted.

B.C. and the federal government are matching donations to the Canadian Red Cross up to $20 million. If you donate just $1, it will become $3. 

With files from Sydney Chisholm