The wildfires in British Columbia have had a lot of effects on the lives of the people in the region. Major transportation companies, as previously covered, have either suspended some routes or at least advised that they are aware of growing safety concerns. Furthermore, the Government of Canada in conjunction with the Government of British Columbia issued an air-quality bulletin late on Wednesday night. There has also been news of skyrocketing lumber prices recently, a topic that was covered by CBC News (Aleksandra Sagan/July 14th).

But all of those problems are not criminal in nature, rather they are effects that directly extend from the widespread fires.

However, it appears that some criminal opportunists are trying to take advantage of those unfortunate enough to have their lives turned upside-down from the fires. Both Rental scams and looting problems have affected some of the evacuees.

Grenfell Tower comparisons, contrasts

The down-and-out being stomped on is something we saw last month in the British news with the Grenfell Tower fire. News readers will recall that an apartment tower burned in London, killing many and displacing scores more. Some of the people that were displaced still had rent deducted from their accounts in early July, as though the costs of relocating and dealing with the inconveniences wasn't enough already.

Express, a British news site, covered one of the stories.

According to James Murray of that agency a survivor of the fire was "still charged RENT after inferno" (July 2nd/Murray's capitalization). While that isn't necessarily a rental scam, even as a clerical error it still inconveniences people immensely at a time when stress is already at a maximum.

Rent scams and looting

In Canada, it's the online fraudsters that are inconveniencing the displaced-by-fire contingent.

The CBC reported on a story on July 13th, one that Tamara Rahmani wrote. According to Rahmani "A B.C. woman who was ordered to evacuate due to a wildfire near her home in B.C.'s south Cariboo region says she has fallen prey to a rental scam."

The woman sent a deposit for a rental unit that could accommodate herself and her numerous cats.

It was after sending this money, $250, that she learned that nothing existed at the address yet. These kinds of stories are common enough and due diligence from consumers requires that people not send money to those that they don't know. However, someone that is being forced to evacuate can only be under more stress to take bigger risks.

Looting, a criminal practice where someone robs an abandoned home or business, has also been reported on in the region affected by the fires. Global News reported on July 12th that the RCMP made ten arrests for the crime in the evacuation areas (Estefania Duran/Janet Brown). As fire fighters prepare for a weekend where the wind is supposed to make the fires worse, one can only imagine what the next problem will be that arises from the area.