People who require support services should follow directions provided by their local authority or First Nation about how to register for ESS. People need to register to access accommodation and other supports through ESS. The operational delivery of ESS varies slightly by community, so it is important that people follow the directions provided by their local authority or First Nation. If people are asked by their local authority or First Nation to register for ESS online, they can visit: https://ESS.gov.bc.ca.
The Province continues to encourage people who have been evacuated to stay with family and friends if possible so that accommodation is available for evacuees who do not have that option. Evacuees who stay with family or friends may still be eligible to receive vouchers to assist with costs associated with billeting, after registering for ESS.
Some communities, including in the Okanagan, are experiencing an extremely large volume of people registering for ESS. Local authorities and volunteers are working to process applications to get people supports as quickly as possible. ESS teams will get to everyone’s applications. People are encouraged to pre-register online at https://ESS.gov.bc.ca, which may speed up the process. Patience is appreciated.
Please note that support services in Alberta are extremely limited due to incoming evacuees from the Northwest Territories. Evacuees requiring supports are discouraged from travelling to Alberta, unless they have friends and families to stay with.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, the Province introduced an emergency order to restrict travel for the purpose of staying in temporary accommodations in several communities in the Okanagan. This will help ensure accommodation is available for critical-response personnel and the tens of thousands of people evacuated due to wildfires.
As of 1 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2023, approximately 30,000 people are under an evacuation order and 36,000 are under an evacuation alert across B.C.