February 13, 2019 11:43 pm
Updated: February 14, 2019 9:11 pm

UBC Okanagan to research psychological impacts of life in wildfire, flooding areas


A call from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus is asking for residents impacted by wildfires and flooding to speak with them.

Carolyn Szostack, associate professor of psychology, said the new study will be looking into residents’ well-being and how living in the Interior could create some worry, as natural disasters continue to escalate each year.

READ MORE: Global BC’s top news story of 2018: Another record-setting wildfire season

“We want to know in much greater detail the effects both at the time, and also what [are] the persisting effects,” said Szostack.

Szostack said they’re focusing on the Okanagan-Similkameen area — an area hit hard by wildfires last year, including Keremeos, Cawston, Hedley and Princeton.

WATCH: Researchers gather to study lingering effects of wildfire smoke

With one of B.C.’s worst wildfire seasons behind us, potential flooding is also on the way as spring creeps up.

“The waters will be probably rising again, so are they more nervous about it now than they were?” Szostack said. That’s one of the things she says the study will investigate.

WATCH BELOW: An associate professor of psychology at UBC Okanagan is studying the psychological impacts of life in wildfire and flooding areas.

READ MORE: Video shows incredible precision of air crews fighting B.C.’s massive Shovel Lake wildfire (September 2018)

She adds they’ll be sharing their research. Szostack said they’ll conduct follow-up interviews with those who reach out. That, she said, will be followed by possible town hall meetings to help create strategies and plans to help better the impacted communities.

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