British Columbia optimism

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press.

Throughout the wildfires, I’ve seen, read and heard about a lot of different responses. Some unpleasant ones, you may have heard of such as looting, threatening firefighters and nasty comments directed, on the rare occasion at ourselves, but more commonly at officials.

However, the response I’ve seen most commonly is one of overwhelming optimism. I believe that personally, I’ve not struggled very much as a result of the wildfires (although I’m still evacuated at the moment and we left our windows open so who knows how bad the smoke damage will be). My wife has been on maternity leave throughout all of this, I’ve been able to work the entire time and we’ve been able to stay at a friend’s house.

I’ve been feeling much worse for those forced to stay in a tent or on a cot at one of the evacuation centres. To my surprise, however, I encountered many of the same reaction at the centres.

One lady I spoke to, had arrived in the middle of the night without a tent and slept in her car before getting a tent the next day. She had been forced to leave most of her animals behind, wasn’t sure if they were getting fed or water, her house wasn’t insured and hadn’t really brought the right stuff to live out of a car or tent. Yet, she said she thought she had it pretty good compared to others in the camp, noting that people were really making all the difference.

As everyone went through this emotional time, it’s really important to remember that all the officials, professionals and volunteers are just people dealing with the situation as best they can.

Evacuees have received food, clothing and other vouchers, received some money through the Red Cross, while hundreds of firefighters across the province fought to stop the fires.

Many of the officials, volunteers and others working on keeping people fed, informed and safe, have long been unable to go to their own homes, see their families and have been doing an extremely tough job.

While obviously not everything has gone perfectly, and I’ll be the first to admit there are some little things that have frustrated me on occasion, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s absolutely worked their butt off throughout this entire situation.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people of British Columbia for their optimism, generosity and hospitality throughout this entire situation and lots of strength to those who are still evacuated and more significantly, have lost their home or income.

100 Mile House Free Press