Ottawa, ON – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard is urgently calling for increased support in response to wildfires in British Columbia (B.C.) and the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), for the affected First Nations individuals and communities, including in the city of Yellowknife, nearby communities of Ndilo, Dettah, and the Ingraham trail in N.W.T., and Tsilhqot’in Nation, Adams Lake Indian Band, and Skwlax te Secwepemcúl’ecw in B.C.
“The escalating wildfire crisis is deeply concerning. Our hearts are with the thousands of residents and First Nations communities confronting these fast-approaching and rapidly increasing wildfires,” said Interim National Chief Bernard. “Many of our communities are suffering from the most severe wildfire season on record. As individuals are evacuated or are airlifted to safety centers, it’s essential for all levels of government to come together immediately to ensure the protection, safety, and support for First Nations people in these impacted regions.”
“As of August 21, 2023, there are 236 active wildfires in N.W.T., and another 380 active wildfires burning across B.C. This urgent situation calls for enhanced and immediate resources for prevention, mitigation, evacuation, and recovery. No First Nation should face or navigate this crisis alone. I urge all levels of governments and individuals to provide support to First Nations in rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. We, as First Nations, are known for looking out for one another. In times like these, it is imperative that we uphold that spirit of community and not let the stress and anxiety change that. Let’s lead with compassion and support each other.”
To support the affected communities, donations can be made for N.W.T. to United Way, at https://nwt.unitedway.ca/2023-emergency-response/ or to the Canadian Red Cross for N.W.T. and B.C. at https://bit.ly/3OIACNv and https://bit.ly/3qCbnVb.
The AFN is closely monitoring the situation. For safety and up-to-date information, the public is urged to follow instructions from Government of Northwest Territories Public Safety and BC Wildfire Service.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations