I called my friend Mike up. Told him what was happening. I went and picked him up. We raced to my home, and just unlocked the door when I got the most ominous text message I’d ever received. It was from my neighbour, Tony, who lived across the street. Tony was also a volunteer fire fighter in our area. The text message read, “Leave Now”!! That sinking feeling was all too real. So Mike and I started going room to room grabbing every valuable we owned. Friends of ours, Corey and Lana, just happened to be driving through town and stopped by without me knowing, asking if we needed a hand. They lived three hours north and were heading home when they heard about the evacuation order coming in. So for the next hour, we wandered through every room. Stuffing absolutely everything into two vehicles. Let me tell you something. If you’re in an area where natural disasters can happen, have a bug out room, just in case.
At that point once the vehicles were full, animals put into the vehicles, we got out. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew it wasn’t home. For the next 15 days, I stayed with friends up here. In total, as the fires raged and surrounded us, there were in total about 40-thousand people evacuated, including two towns. I’d never witnessed falling ash like snow. It was getting difficult to breathe with all of the smoke in the air. I was able to do the show from my friend’s house. I was able to give live Facebook updates as well, keeping people up to date with the fire situation and my health. I’ve never been to so many town meetings.
We did it together!
Coming home, the overflow of emotion was too much. I remember crying as we came into town and eventually drove into our drive way. Hours before, I drove all night to get to my family. At 2pm of July 22nd, we were allowed home. 15-days away. Home never felt so good. Later, we’d learn that a dozen homes were lost, where people lost everything. Through it all, the lessons I learned were invaluable. Have all of your belongings stored together. Have a list of what you’re grabbing, right down to your child’s favourite toy and blanket. Me, I forgot socks and underwear. And always have an escape plan or two.
So today, while for most of you is just a Saturday. To me, it’s a good day to enjoy the rain that’s been falling. The forests can’t burn because it’s just too damn wet outside. And today, I’m happy for that.