For hundreds of small businesses in dozens of communities across rural British Columbia, the devastating impact of this season’s wildfires is just one more blow to an economy already struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the wildfire season on April 1, more than 656,445 hectares of the province have burned, displacing thousands of people and forcing many businesses to curtail their operations.

To help businesses deal with the effects of the wildfires on business stability and continuity, Community Futures British Columbia has launched a dedicated website and toll-free number (1-800-670-9058) to provide businesses with quick and easy access to information, resources and support.

The Community Futures Wildfire Business Support website (cfwildfire.ca/) provides a list of links to a range of resources and support available to assist with disaster recovery and mitigation, as well as the latest information on wildfire activity in B.C.

Among the resources available are a fillable Business Continuity Workbook and an Agriculture Emergency Preparedness Workbook, both of which were developed by Community Futures following the 2017 wildfires and are available online.

Community Futures B.C. is also providing a free, online workshop outlining the steps businesses can take to prepare for and recover more quickly from disasters.

Disaster Readiness 101 will cover the seven things your business can do immediately to avoid being caught off guard.

Developed by Colin O’Leary, an expert in economic recovery and business planning, the workshop will focus on a number of key lessons learned following the 2017 wildfires.

The workshops will be offered online on Aug. 20 and 24 from noon to 1 p.m.

For more information or to register, call toll free, 1-800-670-9058, or visit the Community Futures Wildfire Business Support website at: cfwildfire.ca/resources/workshops/