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Disaster assistance program activated for B.C. communities, ranches

ICBC has emergency program for lost ID, wildfire claims
Cattle walk past burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake during the 2017 B.C. wildfire season. (Coast Mountain News)

With evacuation centres opening around B.C. for people affected by an aggressive start to the wildfire season, agencies are activating emergency response to help people affected by fires and other disasters.

For people who have lost driver’s licences and other identification, the Insurance Corp. of B.C. can issue replacement licences and B.C. services cards at no charge. This can be done in person at driver licensing offices or by phone at 1-800-950-1498, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. A fire-related claim or emergency roadside expenses can be reported online or by phone to 1-800-910-4222.

For farmers and ranchers with livestock in fire-risk areas, the agriculture ministry set up the Premises ID program in 2017 to co-ordinate access to evacuation areas and notify property owners directly about extreme weather events such as flooding and fires.

The ministry says about two thirds of B.C. livestock producers and all dairy and poultry operators have registered, and Premises ID registration is expected to be made mandatory when new regulations under the B.C. Animal Health Act take effect in 2022. Producers are encouraged to register land where animals are kept, handled, assembled and disposed of.

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The B.C. government has also activated its disaster financial assistance program for local governments and Indigenous communities dealing with public infrastructure damaged by fire, flooding or other natural disasters.

The program covers losses that are not covered by insurance, such as roads and bridges.

“Individuals who have been impacted by wildfires are encouraged to contact their insurance representative,” the public safety ministry said in a statement July 2. “Standard home and business insurance policies cover fire damage and additional living expenses, for things like food, shelter and clothing, if residents need to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities.”


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