Wildfires may prevent some B.C. kids from heading back to school

The Ministry of Education is working with Emergency Management BC to ensure kids are safe tomorrow

For months wildfires have ravished the B.C. landscape, forcing thousands out of their homes and now some kids may not be able to start school Tuesday.

As of Sept. 3, more than 2,000 wildfires have torched 1.3 million hectares of B.C. forests making 2018 the worst wildfire season in history.

The Northwest Fire Centre has seen the biggest devastation with 155 fires burning more than 820,000 hectares.

Related: Worst may almost be over for 2018 B.C. wildfire season

According to the Ministry of Education, they have delayed the start of school for some students in B.C. to ensure their safety, while moving others to alternate learning places.

Spokesperson Corinna Filion says staff within the ministry are working directly with school districts regarding the affect this may have on students at the start of the school year.

“This can include delaying the start of the school year, or accommodating students at nearby schools or in temporary classrooms,” she writes.

“We have also offered trauma support to school districts.”

In the Stikine School District, 27 students of the Taltahn School in Telegraph Creek will be spend their first day of school at the Dease Lake school. They will remain students of this school until their Telegraph Creek school is open again.

“There is no fire damage to the school, but the school and nearby homes are at risk,” writes the ministry.

Nearby, 15 students at the Denetia Elementary in Lower Post will attend school in the Watson Lake Rec Centre until they are able to return to their school, likely in the late fall.

Related: As 534 wildfires burn, province extends state of emergency

Related: Season cooling in region with 82 wildfires still burning

In the Bulkley Valley School District, the ministry states no fire is directly impacting communities within the school district and therefore no students are impacted.

“We’re keeping a close eye on the fires closer to the community of Houston,” adds Filion.

A decision will be made today Sept. 3 as to whether they will open the Grassy Plains School in the Nechako Lakes School District.

Filion says that decision, made with Emergency Management BC, will be based on whether the order is lifted soon, or if it will be in place for a longer period of time, in which case the school district will set up alternate classrooms.

“Parents have been contacted, and the school district will post information on its website as soon as a decision has been made,” adds Filion.

“Fort St. James Secondary and Nechako Valley Secondary are currently being used as staging stations for first responders, but they are expected to open on Tuesday.”

The school district is also posting updates to its Facebook feed and on its website.

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@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

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