A new project


Sheridan Lake Morning, (Photo credit Gordon Cornwall)

My new project is about the wildfire summer of 2017. I have been asked why I want to write about this and the answer is multi-faceted. My husband and I have a  vacation cabin at Sheridan Lake that has been in my husband’s family for nearly 60 years.  When it came under threat last summer, I knew that even if it went up in smoke I had a place in North Vancouver to go back to. Still I worried like crazy and I had a lot of sympathy for those whose only homes were in danger.  I will start the book with a quote from the poet, Charles Bukowski: “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” I was really impressed by how people reacted to these fires—with grace, determination, courage and intelligence. Communities drew together; people were kind to one another. The fires grew and evacuees  began to stream out of the affected areas.  Sometimes the notice to leave came in the middle of the night and as long lines of cars and trucks formed on the highways, small grocery stores stayed open until the wee hours. They gave out free snacks and sometimes even free gas to evacuees.  Many people went to evacuation centres, but also, their friends and neighbours took them in. I talked to one woman in Horse Fly who responded to a knock on her door early in July. A man whom her partner knew very slightly from work, was asking if he could stay. The woman said yes, without hesitation, even though this meant not only taking in the man, his wife, his children, but his animals as well–six cows, some horses, even two rats! This book is about the summer of 2017, but there is also a history here that I think is part of the story and that I want to talk about. Ranches have been in one family for generations; neighbours have been helping each other out for decades. This is part of what makes these communities so strong. No human lives were lost in the Cariboo, but we know that some mistakes were made. I’d like to look at those, to see what we can learn for the future. I also want spend some time at the end of the book thinking about our forest practices, to see what changes should be implemented to make our wonderful wild lands safer. I am looking for stories. If you would like to tell me yours (or share your photos), please get in touch. You can send me an email through the contact button above.

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