Wildfire Update 4 – Know Before You Go

July 14th, 2017, News


Destination BC and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association will be communicating with media and consumers to encourage a ‘know before you go’ campaign to provide factual information on our industry businesses impacted by wildfire and to reduce fears of visiting our unaffected communities and businesses.

If you are not affected by wildfire or smoke, we encourage you to share current images on your social channels, engage in positive discussions about your area and do not engage in sharing of unconfirmed information on social media.

We will be sharing additional communication tools and links to coverage to assist you in your messaging.

Tips on handling media during emergencies: 

Many interviews are shortened to a few sound bites, but they are played over and over. Remember what is captured may represent your business situation for a long time, so remain factual and positive – it is not useful to feed the media fears. Here are a few tips to help you handle an interview during the current forest fire situation.

  • Once you have answered a question with your most important thought/s, stop talking.
  • Pause and take time to collect your thoughts before you start to answer a question. They can wait.
  • Tell your own story – answer questions on behalf of yourself/your family/your business only. Remember that you are not a spokesperson for other people or organizations.
  • Don’t speculate or predict the future. It is fine to say, “We don’t know yet.”
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, do not answer it/say you don’t know. (Exception: If it is your area of expertise and you would normally be the source of the information, then offer to find out and get back to them.)
  • If you are the official spokesperson for an organization, make a list of no more than four key messages that are most important to convey. Keep the list in front of you, or review it just prior to an interview.
  • Use plain language and avoid jargon and abbreviations.
  • Avoid exaggerations. (I’ve told him a million times…)
  • If the same person asks you the same question multiple times, and you are feeling uncomfortable, gently say something like, “I believe I already answered that.”
  • Stick to facts! Please don’t share information or things you have heard from unofficial sources.

Keep a positive tone, and where it makes sense, express your pride for your area, its people, and your passion for sharing it with visitors.


Check with your specific financial advisor on what supports are available for your business or family. Here are a few we have heard from:

Special mortgage payment arrangements are available for CIBC homeowners in British Columbia affected by the wildfires. CIBC says that re-amortizing of mortgages is also an option and that special arrangements are available for credit card bills and loans. The lender is reversing service fees and some other charges.

Learn more about how CIBC is helping here.

Royal Bank of Canada assisting clients

Learn how RBC is helping clients here.

TD Canada Trust gathers donations

Learn how TD Canada Trust is helping here.

BMO Financial Group today announced a donation of $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross BC Fires Appeal to support communities and residents affected by the wildfires in British Columbia.

“We stand by our customers and communities through the good times and the challenging times. We are here to help residents and businesses in British Columbia who have been impacted by the devastating wildfires across the province. Our thoughts are with them all and we hope these efforts will help to alleviate some of the challenges they are facing,” saidMichael Bonner, Senior Vice President and Regional Head, British Columbia and Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal.

In addition, BMO is supporting impacted customers needing help with short-term deferral payment options, special accommodations and other assistance. Customers are encouraged to visit any branch or contact BMO for more information. Small business and commercial clients are also encouraged to contact their BMO account manager regarding special accommodations.

BMO is also accepting donations at all of its branches across Canada to support the Canadian Red Cross BC Fires Appeal.


TIPS to protect your financial future

1. Contact your mortgage holder whether it be a bank or a broker and explain your situation.

2. Contact your Home Insurance provider as soon as you are able, not the local office, but the actual Insurance Company that insures you. They can advise what you are entitled to if displaced from your home or business is interrupted.

3. Contact the lending institution that you have your vehicle car loans with.

4. Cell providers need to be contacted.

5. Home Satellite/Cable/Internet providers should be contacted.

6. Let anyone that you pay a monthly fee know the situation you are in, you may have better coverage than you think.

Most importantly…SAVE ALL RECEIPTS!!!

Cariboo Parks & Rec sites closed

In an effort to protect public safety, the ministry has closed all recreation sites and trails in the Cariboo Fire Centre, effective immediately.

The closure will remain in effect until further notice.

Any members of the public currently using recreation sites within the Cariboo Fire Centre are advised to leave.

Recreationalists are encouraged to avoid travelling in the backcountry in areas of active wildfires or where the fire danger rating is high to extreme. Given the current fire danger ratings and number of active wildfires, further restrictions may be considered if people do not stay out of the backcountry.

Read more here

To read more about the services offered by BC Parks during this time, please click here.

BC Economic Development Association Helping Out

The BC Ec Dev Association are being supported by FORTIS to set-up a call centre for business owners affected by the fires. We anticipate that these centres will be established soon, likely in the next few days.

  • The Province and BCEDA are working to develop a 1-pager on what businesses can do to prepare if they are under or anticipating an evacuation alert.
  • BCEDA are already starting to plan for how they will provide volunteers on the ground post-fire to help the region plan for economic disaster recovery.

For a checklist on how to prepare your business for emergencies, please click here.