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BC Agriculture Minister To Get First Hand Look At Wildfire Devastation In The Cariboo

BC Agriculture Minister is in Quesnel today to see first hand the devastation caused by the wildfires this summer.

Lana Popham says she has been in constant contact with people on the phone, but felt that it was important to see for herself on the ground…

“I wanted to do it as soon as i could, i didn’t want to come in at a time when the crisis was happening to take any resources away from the community, but now that we’re sort of past the critical time, i am up here looking at the situation and talking to community leaders about the plan for renewal.”

Popham says she has meetings set up all day, including with the BC Cattlemen’s Association, and will also be taking a helicopter tour.

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She says they are now moving into the recovery stage, adding that the ministry does have programs in place with regards to farming and ranching needs.

Popham says they have secured 20 million dollars in provincial and federal funding so far and they are asking people to fill out applications as they take a look at the losses they’ve had and the needs that they are going to have over the next while.

Popham says many farmers and ranchers are still assessing the damage.

“You know there are situations, especially with the cattlemen, where the cattle haven’t returned back to the ranches yet or they are just in progress, and so we don’t know exactly how much livestock has been lost. But what we’ve been hearing from the BC Cattlemen’s Association, they’re estimating that it’s well over 100 million dollars in losses, but we don’t have anything really concrete at this point, but we do know that it’s going to be an unprecedented amount.”

Popham says she wants to thank the people of the Cariboo, the people of Quesnel, for putting in such an amazing effort to get through this, the resilience that is so obvious, is to be commended and also the commitment to have a fresh start and a new beginning is also so commendable.

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