Nearly one third of wildfire evacuations in Canada involve Indigenous communities. While evacuations are carried out to protect people from smoke and flames, deciding to leave brings its own challenges.
This evacuation guide is based on interviews with over 200 wildfire evacuees from seven First Nations. By comparing the evacuees' experiences, both good and bad, it provides direction on how Indigenous communities and external agencies can best prepare for the different stages of an evacuation. Packed with real-life stories, checklists, and guiding questions, it gives an overview of what to expect and how to plan.
Specific topics include:
- assessing the risk to the health and safety of community members;
- knowing when to do a partial vs a full evacuation;
- figuring out who to contact for help;
- troubleshooting transportation;
- communicating with members before and after the evacuation;
- caring for Elders and other more vulnerable community members;
- organizing food and activities while away.
With climate change raising the danger of wildfires around the world, the experiences of the communities featured in this book will serve as an indispensable resource for any town at risk from fire; 26 b&w photos, 10 maps
Tara K. McGee is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta. Her work focuses on the human dimensions of wildfire – including wildfire mitigation and preparedness by homeowners and governments – as well as on how people respond to wildfires, including evacuation decision-making, evacuations, and recovery. Amy Cardinal Christianson is a Métis woman from Treaty 8 territory, currently living in Treaty 6, and a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. Her research explores Indigenous fire stewardship, Indigenous wildland firefighters, wildfire evacuations, and Indigenous research methodology. Amy also co-hosts the Good Fire podcast, which looks at Indigenous fire use around the world. The First Nations Wildfire Evacuation Partnership is made up of representatives from seven First Nations, as well as researchers and agencies involved in providing support during wildfire evacuations. Its aim is to learn about how First Nation peoples and communities have been affected by evacuations and to make recommendations for how to reduce their negative impacts.