Food, first aid supplies, phone chargers and cash top the list of things that people in the Skeena pack in their grab-and-go bags, a small emergency kit that can be transported easily in the case of a sudden wildfire.
But on their way out the door, people from the region say they’d also grab pets, pet food, family photographs, medication, passports, insurance and wills. Others say they’d bring rifes, playing cards and musical instruments. One person says they’d take their parrot.
These are some of the results of a recent poll about emergency grab-and-go bags and wildfires on Skeena Strong, which got responses from every community in the region.
While over eight in ten (80%) residents of the Skeena say they are “concerned about the risk of a wildfire in my community”, few respondents within the Skeena feel that their community is well-prepared for a wildfire. The community in the Skeena region where people feel most prepared is Kitimat, but even there, only one in three (33%) answered in the affirmative.
Over 50 percent of people in Hazelton/Kispiox say they have a grab-and-go packed at this moment. However, only about one-third of respondents in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Smithers/Telkwa could say the same.
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents from Prince Rupert say they or their family has experienced a wildfire event in the past three years. About half of people in other Skeena communities said the same.
Those numbers could rise across the Skeena this year, unfortunately, given that experts are predicting an above-average fire season due to the hot and dry weather intensified by climate change.
If and when a fire comes, make sure you–and your parrot–are prepared.