This year has been a brutal year for wildfires on both sides of the border, with thousands affected, in some way, big or small.
Queens University Nursing Professor, Doctor Dana Edge has spent time with victims of the Barriere and Slave Lake wildfires.
“People move on, and do bounce back, but there are still some long lasting emotional scars that can occur.”
Edge says a long term strategy is needed to help victims.
“Mental health services in the long term are probably important to consider for municipalities and provincial governments in term of thinking about the populations that get effected by wildfires.”
Most notably children. Edges says anxiety can remain long after the fire has been put out.
“I’m not sure that I can actually say it was flashbacks, but children in particular did have a fear in subsequent years. So, that’s another thing to think about in terms of kids that have been evacuated this summer in Rock Creek and the Oliver area.”
While speaking with CKNW’s Jill Bennett, Edge says that fatigue, and disbelief set in first, and then anxiety, but how well victims recover depends on how much support is provided by the community, NGO’s and government.