Fire brings neighbourhood together

West Kelowna Coun. Carol Zanon was one of thousands evacuated during the Smith Creek wildfire.

Smith Creek fire evacuations brought stress and fear for many, but West Kelowna Coun. Carol Zanon says they also brought her neighbourhood closer together.

Zanon, who lives in the Smith Creek area, had two fires to worry about last week.

Police came knocking on residents’ doors in the early morning hours of July 14 to inform them they were being put on evacuation alert.

“We were standing around, talking with our neighbours at about 3 a.m.,” said Zanon.

Two days after the first Smith Creek blaze was extinguished, residents once again watched smoke rise in close proximity.

“I was on my way to the beach and I saw (Fire Chief) Wayne Schnitzler down at the corner of Smith Creek Road and Elliott. It was within 10 minutes of them calling it,” said Zanon.

She and her husband, Carl, went back to their house and got things together before a police officer knocked on their door a few minutes later and asked them to leave.

The first night Zanon and her husband stayed at Super 8, but the couple was forced to find an alternate arrangement the next night.

“We went to The Heritage and we could not have been treated any better,” said Zanon.

“At least two dozen local companies…donated things.”

Zanon added the experience allowed her to meet with several other evacuees in her neighbourhood.

“The positive side was meeting so many new people and now that it’s over, we have a wider circle of folks that we know.

“And we can appreciate that everybody has got a story with this fire.”

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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