NEWS

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

07/08/2015 03:03 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT
The B.C. community of Sechelt is holding a breakfast and dinner in memory of the local tree-faller John Phare who died while helping battle one of the many wildfires raging in the province. 

Selina August, a member of the Sechelt Indian Band who organized the meals, says it's the community's way of also thanking all the firefighters around the province who are putting their lives on the line to fight the blazes. 

"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. 

"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 [firefighter's] wife 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.

"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.

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