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Community Comment: We are all one community in the face of disaster

I’ll keep wishing for autumn rains and calm winds as we continue to weather the storm
A firefighter with the BC Wildfire Service mops up at the scene of a wildfire

Two weeks ago the fire horror story started with the destruction of the Hawaiian town of Lahaina on the island of Maui.

Loved by many Canadians it was heartbreaking to see the loss of life and history gone in an instant as a river of fire raced down Front Street.

Attention soon turned to the Northwest Territories as fires intensified and destroyed small towns and forests in the Arctic.

Yellowknife was evacuated, and we watched thousands of people leave their homes for safety.

A day later West Kelowna was up in flames. Video of the fire was horrifying to watch.

Then came the devastation in the Shuswap as two wildfires converged and people raced for their lives.

More than 35,000 evacuees in our province are wondering when they can go home and some are not sure if there home is still standing.

In the comfort of my home, I imagine what it would be like if a Delta firefighter came to my door and ordered me to leave.

What would I take? My dog, family documents, photographs, a few clothes and personal belongings. How do you pack your life into an SUV? It feels impossible.

What stands out for me during this state of emergency is how communities have come together to support one another.

There is a sustained shared effort to do whatever it takes to help people in need. From pet food to diapers, to proving housing, the generosity of strangers is compelling.

How do we explain this other than to say empathy drives goodness and I know we would do the same if similar circumstances appeared in our community.

For now we hold our collective breath as the August heat and drought continues.

I’ll keep wishing for autumn rains and calm winds as we continue to weather the storm.

Ingrid Abbott is a freelance writer who is forever in admiration and gratitude for fire firefighters who save lives and property while fighting wildfires.