B.C. wildfires: How you can help
Nearly 600 wildfires have displaced thousands of British Columbians right across the province.
And with no favourable weather in sight, it's unclear when evacuees will be able to return home or, in some cases, if they'll even have homes to return to.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help.
Donate to the Red Cross
Donations made to the Canadian Red Cross will be matched by the B.C. government, up to a total of $20 million, the province has announced.
Those wishing to help can contribute online or by calling 1-800-418-1111.
“The Red Cross is on the ground, helping people and communities affected by the wildfires burning around the province,” Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice said in a statement.
Larger, corporate donations can be made by emailing the province directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While people have donated goods and food in the past, EmergencyInfoBC says so far this year, only financial contributions are needed.
Donate to the BC SPCA
The SPCA had to evacuate two of its shelters in the Cariboo region this week as firefighters battled a number of growing fires in the area.
"Although we're hoping we don't see a repeat of last summer's devastating wildfires, our staff, volunteers and officers are ready, willing and able to feed and comfort any animals in need of our help," the organization said in a statement.
Donations can be made online to help the rescue group help make sure animals are kept safe until the wildfire situation improves.
How to donate safely
The province is urging donors to only give through well-established charities and avoid door-to-door or phone campaigns.
Other tips include:
- Avoid giving cash or using wire transfer services. Cheques should be made out to an organization, not an individual
- Donations made online should only be done on secure websites
- When asked for donations (over the phone, through an email or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity
- Beware of high-pressure tactics. A legitimate charity will still be there tomorrow. Feel free to take the information and sleep on it
- Do an internet search for the charity’s name and background
- If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization, including its fundraising practices, call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1 877-442-2899