Read the full story in the July 19 edition of The Interior News.
Even though the wildfires are many hours away by road, local resources are being used to help battle the raging forest fires in B.C.’s Interior.
Smithers firefighters are currently battling the flames in the Interior. The team of four firefighters were deployed last Thursday evening to Cache Creek along with a firetruck and pickup truck. The four men who volunteered to help in the effort are Ian Smith, Sean Rowell, Kasper Green and Nathan Combs.
Fire chief Keith Stecko said they received the call from the Office of the Fire Commissioner at around 3 p.m. Thursday, leaving less then three hours later.
They arrived in Cache Creek last Friday and were redeployed to Williams Lake.
Telkwa Fire Department is ready to send resources to assist in the wildfire efforts if they are called.
Local businesses helping
People had been dropping off bails of hay at Smithers Feed Store all last week to be delivered to help with livestock since the evacuations.
The store was being used as a drop-off centre for pick up and delivery to Prince George to help out the agriplex with the number of horses that are there.
“I’m just doing the hauling and North Country Rentals, Bruce there is actually donating the use of his trailer for it,” said Andrea Garhammer.
160 bales of Hay, salt blocks, water, buckets, halters and lead ropes and fuel cards delivered! Everyone here was super…
Pacific Inland Resources (PIR) sent two men and a pickup truck filled with firefighting equipment to Williams Lake last week.
“They’re helping protect the sawmill and plywood plants in Williams Lake,” said Dean MacDonald, general manager of PIR.
Bandstra Transportation Systems Limited is working alongside the Red Cross, hauling relief products for evacuees. About 12 truck drivers are helping out.
“What we’re doing is providing transportation services to relief support product in terms of cots and bedding and materials and water and emergency supplies from various locations to Kamloops and Prince George centres,” said Phil Bandstra, manager at Bandstra Transportation Systems.
The Fields store is accepting donations for the Red Cross at the checkout.
For the evacuees who bring a voucher to any Fields store, they will receive an addition 10 per cent off their bill.
The Salvation Army’s Smithers’ location is helping out in Prince George, offering evacuees support.
“We’re providing emotional, spiritual care and … they’re helping out with food services. They’re giving out clothing vouchers,” said Tim Sharp, director of the Bulkley Valley Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army is accepting donations to help those affected by the wildfires. If you’d like to donate visit SalvationArmy.ca/bcfires or call: 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
Smithers Cares Red Cross donation
The Town of Smithers has set up its own Canadian Red Cross page to collect donations for evacuees escaping the wildfires that have consumed so much of B.C.’s south and central interior.
Anyone who wishes to donate, can do so by credit card or PayPal at redcross.ca/bcfires/smitherscares.
The Red Cross is asking for cash donations to help it organize relief such as cots, blankets, family reunification and financial assistance for food, clothing and personal needs. It is only taking monetary donations because of the cumbersomeness of transportation through disaster areas. But volunteers are needed at communities like Prince George where evacuees are being sent.
There are currently three volunteers from Smithers helping out with support services in Prince George, according to CAO Anne Yanciw.
“Which is helping with the relocating and the temporary homing of all of the evacuees and animals,” she said.
How to prepare in the event of an emergency
Smithers Fire Rescue released instructions on how to prepare for an emergency should something happen locally. Three steps on how to prepare:
1) Have an emergency kit; be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. That kit should include: Three-day supply of water and non-perishable food for every person and pet, flashlight and batteries, battery-powered or wind-up AM/FM radio, first aid kit, whistle, seasonal clothing and footwear, toiletries and medications, blanket, cell phone, charger and out of area contact card, local maps and cash in small bills, copies of important documents;
2) Make a plan: Every household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family know what to do if disaster strikes. Make a plan, share it with your family and practise your plan;
3) Stay informed: In an event of an emergency, listen to local radio. Information on where to gather and safe routes of exit will be shared on the radio, online media like interior-news.com and the Town website smithers.ca.
Information on how to make an emergency plan and suggestions for what goes into a basic kit can be found on the Prepared BC website at gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC. You can also contact the Smithers Fire Rescue at 250-847-2015.