Before you read this, this tells a personal story of how I was affected by wildfires last year and I go into some detail. If anybody is sensitive I urge you to read carefully. If you don’t want to read, I understand as this was hard for me to write. I am here for you, I will listen to you, I can empathise with you. Send me a DM if you want a friend in this hard time.
Most of you on here by now know quite a bit about me on a personal level, and I am glad that this is a safe place where we can talk openly about who we are and our personal experiences. Most of you know me as a soon to be ex-“highway thru hell” trucker who is going to co-own a cannabis farm with an estranged police officer father living in the BC mountains.
As I look out my window this morning I see a thick white haze enveloping the valley that is home to my town of 10k people. This haze, unfortunately is not fog, but rather a thick, palatable smoke that you taste on the tip on your tongue every time you inhale. This smoke is normal for this region, as it is for any heavily forested region.
13 months ago, I was playing GTAV with my fiancee as a storm rolled in. There was some light thunder accompanied by thick cloud. An hour or two later, the storm rolls on and I look out the window to see how the weather is moving. I look up to see a set of thick clouds, only to realise they weren’t clouds at all. Only 2kms from my house is the peak of a small mountain, just on the other side of this peak is where it appeared the smoke was coming from. For a week my fiancee and I slept in the living room with the windows open watching as the orange glow that crowned the mountain grew slightly brighter every night (at least it seemed that way, it could have been our anxiety).
I remember we all just went about our days as ash rained from the sky accompanied by this unique, yet indistinguishable heat only to be compared to a campfire, only radiating around you and through to your core.
As an asthmatic, my health began declining severely however we stayed as long as we could so I could keep working (thanks financial stress). Every day it seemed like more and more people were leaving town voluntarily. Businesses started closing and gas stations started running out of gas. It was a ghost town, even though no evacuation order was given, only an alert at this time (and trust me, we were alert AF). After seeing over half of the town leave we finally decided to make the trek 3.5 hours north to Prince George to register as voluntary evacuees, which was a couple hour ordeal. Then 10 hours south to my mom’s in Vancouver, all while carrying a Aussie Shepherd and a kitten we just got who had no clue how to ride in cars yet and the rest of what really matter to us in my Ford Fusion’s trunk. I tell you, want to find out wants really important to you? Evacuate from your home knowing it could very well burn down with whatever you dont pick up, theres a life lesson there alone.
Two days later the official evacuation order was given…my heart sank. Im 550 kms away watching the news explain how multiple fires were literally surrounding my home, absolutely helpless. In the mean time, i’m roaming around the big city (where I grew up) trying to take my mind off of things, and all I hear are tourists and big city folk talk about the fires. Laughing about it like its cool. “Have you heard about the fires dude!?! Ya man that’s insane! HAHA!” “The BS government is doing this and this and this wrong” “I don’t know what the big deal is, nobody died yet!”
Yeah…f*** those guys and their comments.
I actually remember hearing a tourist complain “Why did these fires have to happen now? The smoke is ruining my view of the mountains!”
Oh, sorry its such a big convenience for you. Make sure you have a good sleep in your 4 star hotel while my friends and coworkers sleep on cots in a school gym somewhere and I go and sleep on my moms floor.
A total 16 days away from our home and we finally get the all clear. We rush back home thinking things will be back to normal before we know it.
But now I know that the recovery from a natural disaster is a long a hard process. We lived in Calgary when the flood happened there as well. I know better than most how hard the journey to recovery is, and I sure as hell know how difficult is can be to get help and true empathy from people who have not been through a similar disaster.
I am telling my story here because I am reminded of the emotions as I look at out my window and smell the smoke in the air today. I am sure there are many people on this forum who have been, or know somebody who has been affected by wildfires. I want you all to know that you will feel better. I want you to know that I do understand your story and I want you to know that I am here for you. I am here to listen and to help. I can relate and help you understand your own story in what is surely one of the most confusing, and stressful times of your life.
Send me a DM and lets talk.