Smoke fills the sky as a wildfire burns in Ashcroft, B.C., on Friday, July 7. Since then, the wildfire in the area has grown to nearly 4,000 hectares in size. Twitter, @TheoFaber

Penticton man sets up Facebook group to help fire evacuees

Members offering a place to stay, food, clothing and any other needs of those displaced by wildfires

A Penticton man is heading up a grassroots effort to provide aid for those displaced by the seemingly endless list of wildfires ravaging the province.

Initially set up for the Ashcroft and Cache Creek evacuees, Allan Love said the Facebook group is there to provide help to anybody who may have lost a home or who otherwise needs help due to the fires.

“I’m an old forestry firefighter, myself, so I know the hardships that the people will be going through, as I’ve been on the fighting end of it,” Love said. “I know how much it could actually suck. I just want to give anyone who needs help as much help as I can possibly give them whether it’s through myself or through proxy.”

Related: Evacuation alert expanded for Princeton fire

If Love isn’t able to provide the help that an evacuee is needing, he said hopefully one of the 112 — and growing — members of his group will be able to.

Love said clothing, food and shelter make up the bulk of what the group is offering, with numerous members offering to make room in their homes for the evacuees.

“I, myself, am even willing to put up a couple of people inside my house, I can put up a couple more people inside my camper, and I‘ve got lots of room for RVs or tents for camping,” Love said. “I can help out even some of them, myself, with food and whatnot, too.”

Members in the group span across the province, with Facebook profiles showing up from the coast, up to Lillooet and as far out as Calgary.

That, Love said, will help to spread group’s ability to provide help wherever it’s needed, especially with most of the fires in the Cariboo region — far away from Love’s home in Penticton.

Related: Ashcroft fire grows to 3,900 hectares

But the giving spirit hasn’t ended with those with space to spare — Love pointed to one man who offered to help out however he can, despite himself being an evacuee.

“It’s all been pretty positive and pretty good,” he said.

Love said he’s offered a helping hand to others in need before, but never anything on this scale.

“I’m winging it, doing what I can,” he said. “It sucks to be down, so I may as well do what I can to make their life better and easier.”

Understanding that many of the evacuees don’t necessarily have access to Facebook, he said he has been reaching out to evacuation centres to try to get the word across that way that the province’s community members are offering their help.

“I’m waiting for phone calls back from the Kamloops and the actual Lillooet evac centre,” he said, adding that he’s keeping an eye out for other evacuation centres to reach out to.

Related: Gustafsen wildfire now at 3,200 hectares

Love is a former forestry firefighter himself, which he said has provided him with a bit more empathy for those affected by wildfires, having seen the destruction they can bring.

Clearly others are feeling the empathy, too, with the group reaching over 100 members in just four or five hours.

“It’s exploding,” Love said. “I’m publishing it in every Facebook group. I’ve put it in every group I could find to join for 100 Mile and Cache Creek and Ashcroft.”

Just Posted

Kelowna talent goes to international stage

Julia Chambers is now attending Tisch at New York University

Break and enter suspect nabbed with help from Kelowna witness

The woman recognized the suspect’s vehicle

Ignoring climate change poses potential catastrophe for B.C.

Fisheries scientist says ‘extraordinary challenges’ in water management lie ahead

Person hit by vehicle in West Kelowna

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon

Despite legislation to introduce it, Kelowna plans to keep up call to scrap speculation tax

City says it will keep working with other municipalities affected by the tax

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

Okanagan water conference builds connections

Experts gathered to discuss water and fisherie sustainability objectives

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read