British Columbia·Photos

B.C. fires: Sechelt community rallies support for firefighters following death of local tree-faller

Even though they’re unable to help fight the fires themselves, a number of Sechelt residents have taken it upon themselves to give back to the firefighters fighting the nearby wildfires

Community is hosting meals for firefighters, collecting food to send to base camp

The B.C. community of Sechelt is holding a breakfast and dinner for firefighters as a way of thanking them for putting their lives on the line to fight the blazes near the city.

Selina August, says it's also a way to remember  local tree-faller John Phare who died while helping battle one of the many wildfires raging in the province. 

Members of the Sechelt community have rallied together to host meals for local firefighters fighting wildfires. (Selina August)

"The entire community wants to help but there's no way that we can because there's danger areas that we're not allowed to enter," she says. 

Selina August has organized the meals for firefighters who finish their shift at odd hours of the day. (Margaret Gallagher)

"Being able to offer this dinner in our community is a gift ... It's sad to hear one of our heroes lost his life so I do want to pay my respect to the family and friends."

She says the idea came to her when she was made aware of the time commitment needed by the community's firefighters.

"I saw a post from one of the [firefighters'] wives asking where our guys can eat at six in the morning. We jumped on the opportunity to offer a breakfast and dinner."

Firefighters sent encouraging messages

The same sentiments are shared by Mokie Burnham, co-owner of the Sechelt Fish Market, who has been collecting donations for the fire crews and carting loads of supplies and containers of food up to the base camp daily.

Mokie Burnham collects donations at her family store, the Sechelt Fish Market, to take to the firefighters. (Margaret Gallagher)

"I think it helps them a lot. People would write notes on the containers and say 'thank you so much, from the Smith family.' 'We really appreciate everything you're doing' from the Jones family.'"

Burnham's sons worked as part of the forest fire fighting crews based in the Fraser Valley and Burns Lake. She says that seeing how her sons were supported by community made her want to give back in a similar way for Sechelt.

"These people get a touch [from the community]... and I know from my sons and their coworkers they said the exact same thing."

The government of B.C. has also created a page for the public to post messages of support to local firefighters.

To hear the full audio piece, listen to: Sechelt community fosters support for firefighters following death of local treefaller.

With files from Margaret Gallagher


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