We are 2 weeks into one of the worst forest fire seasons in British Columbia’s history and there is little relief in sight. Currently there are 162 fires burning and a total of 131000 hectors of forest scorched. With little rain in the forecast it is hard to know when things will improve.
This is devastating for all the residence of BC but the greatest impact is on the 40 000+ residence who have been evacuated from their homes. It is not clear how many homes have been lost, what is clear is that even one house is too many! Evacuation centers in Kamloops and Prince George are filled to capacity with more evacuation centers being opened in Vernon, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Surrey and Salmon Arm.
With all this devastation come stories that renew our faith in humanity.
The people of BC have stepped up to help out their neighbours, friends and strangers. Each night when I watch the news there are stories of people who have gone above and beyond to help out a friend or a stranger. Evacuation centers are being flooded with volunteers wanting to help. People are opening their doors to strangers, farmers are making room for endless RV’s with their livestock and horses in tow, Facebook groups are being set up to help relocate animals and families are showing up to walk dog after dog just to give the pets time from their crates. Citizens are donating money at every opportunity and people are pulling together to help those effected through this difficult time.
Donate to the Red Cross here
Companies have stepped up to the plate as well. With a simple text or a small add on to your shopping bill, British Columbian’s are donating to the Red Cross by the thousands. Big corporation are also getting involved. Scotiabank, CIBC, Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal each are donating $50,000 to the relief effort. Honda Canada Foundation has donated $100,000 and BCAA, Sun Life Financial and CN Rail are all donating $25,000. Airlines have cut prices to help get evacuees to nearby family, cell phone companies have waived data charges, insurance companies are waiving deductibles, grocery stores and drug stores have donated food and supplies by the truck load. The list is endless and the kindness is vast. This generosity doesn’t stop at the BC border.
Fort McMurray residence, who are still recovering from last years devastating fires, are returning the kindness by sending trucks full of supplies to the effected regions. Firefighters from all over Canada, the US and as far as Australia are arriving to help. These men and women are working long days, in terrible condition and at great risk to themselves to help save our province and protect our residence.
In a time when it often feels like everyone is just looking out for themselves, something like this happens, and you realize we are all in this together.
Please! If you are planning to camp in BC check out the link to make sure your route and areas are open but most important follow the rules. I was driving yesterday and the driver infront of me tossed his cigarette butt out the window. Be smart people! No fires, no butts, no sparks. Lets help out those exhausted fire fighters by doing our part to not create any more work.