‘We’re in this together, at least.’ - The Orca
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‘We’re in this together, at least.’

Dene Moore
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From horse people to lemonade stands, Dene Moore thanks those who have stepped up to help those affected by wildfires.

The sky was still blue, the wildfires now racing across the Interior B.C. landscape still in their earliest stages, when the messages began to pop up on social media.

“I have a spare cabin and fenced paddock for animals.”

“If anyone needs a place for their horses/livestock in case of evacuation, we have ten acres.”

“I’ve got the horse trailer hooked up and pasture for animals.”

“Need help evacuating animals call me. Have a horse trailer and lots of space.”

The horse people. From Chilliwack to the Chilcotin, Prince George to Peachland, horse people don’t hesitate to offer help in an emergency. They’ll come from hundreds of miles away, ferrying animals and their sometimes overwhelmed humans to safety.

Thank you horse people.

When wildfires ignite, more often than not the first responders on the scene are local volunteer firefighters, for throughout most of B.C. these vital services are provided by volunteers. As their own homes and communities are threatened, they juggle work and set aside the demands of their own fears and form the frontline.

Thank you volunteer firefighters of Lone Butte, Interlakes, Deka Lake, Canim Lake, 100 Mile House and every other community threatened by the 300-plus wildfires now burning in the province, for your selfless service.

When people are forced by the flames from their homes here, it is usually local volunteer Search and Rescue personnel who go door-to-door, arming evacuees with clear information and comfort at this scariest of times.

Thank you search and rescue volunteers for your sleepless nights and helpful advice.

In most smaller communities, many emergency services workers are also volunteers who help evacuees and disaster survivors settle into somewhere safe and get them essentials that will get them through the first days.

Thank you to the volunteers providing comfort at evacuee centres.

In 2017, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc opened their community to thousands of evacuees, providing free meals, supports, essentials and places to camp. Despite the fact the community is still reeling from confirmation of 215 unmarked child graves at the site of the former residential school, the community again opened its doors to those fleeing the fires.

Thank you, Kukwstsétsemc, to Tk’emlups.

After the community of Lytton was devastated by a fire that killed at least two of its own, donations began immediately pouring in, including lumber producer Teal Jones which donated enough lumber to rebuild 50 homes, and nine-year-old Emily Loewen of Chilliwack, who raised $3,000 from a lemonade stand for the Lytton people who lost their homes. Already, more than half a million dollars has been raised.

Thank you to Emily and all the donors who opened their wallets along with their hearts.

Often, when things are at their worst, most people are at their best. While officials bicker about states of emergency and resources, in the midst of what is shaping up to be one of the worst wildfire years in at least recent memory, there is no time for that.

B.C. Wildfire Services personnel are on the ground, in the heat and smoke, taking on what seems the impossible task of stopping these monster fires from their relentless advance.

RCMP officers and municipal officials are trying to bring some semblance of order to chaos, working in many cases around-the-clock to deploy the resources there are to best effect.

The rest of us in the eye of this storm take refuge and comfort in knowing that up here, we’re in this together at least.

Dene Moore is an award-winning journalist and writer. A news editor and reporter for The Canadian Press news agency for 16 years, Moore is now a freelance journalist living in the South Cariboo. Moore’s two decades in daily journalism took her as far afield as Kandahar as a war correspondent and the Innu communities of Labrador. She has worked in newsrooms in Vancouver, Montreal, Regina, Saskatoon, St. John’s and Edmonton. She has been published in the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s magazine, the New York Times and the Toronto Star, among others. She is a Habs fan and believes this is the year.

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