LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 20, 2012) - A year-long study of people affected by the 2011 Slave Lake Wildfire indicates that as the community continues to recover, particular attention must be paid to families and children.
Dr. Judith Kulig, a University of Lethbridge Health Sciences researcher and wildfire recovery expert, was on the ground in Slave Lake a month after the disaster.
"This will be no surprise, but we found that parents who were, quite frankly, emotionally drained and stretched to their limits by this event were having trouble supporting their kids - who were equally affected," Kulig said.
"In addition to the displacement caused by the fire, schools were closed, living arrangements were different, and the families were making big decisions: do they rebuild? Do they leave? If their home is gone, where do they live? Even if they had not lost their home, they still had to make sense of what happened."
Kulig said that, as researchers moved through the community engaging people, they found ample evidence that Slave Lake and area exhibited a solid level of community cohesion and resilience, which is critical to the rebuilding process.
Kulig cautioned, however, that the actual transition back to what some families expressed as 'normal' would not be without challenges. "We identified six key areas people experienced, and need to be mindful of even now, to ensure they are coping constructively with the disaster's aftermath."
To learn more about the research and recommendations, and to obtain additional information about the Slave Lake Wildfire, research project, please visit this website: http://www.uleth.ca/notice/display.html?b=300&s=18264.