UNDER EVACUATION: Couple leaves fate of home in Mother Nature’s hands

Kind gestures help soften the anxiety as evacuees play the waiting game for updates on fire growth

One in a ten-part series showcasing the volunteerism, community and resilience surrounding those evacuated due to the wildfires engulfing parts of the B.C. Interior.

Judi and Art Prevost were driving home from a weekend away at Blue Lake when they watched a strike of lightning out towards Soda Creek.

That was almost two weeks ago.

At the time, the Williams Lake couple didn’t suspect they’d be sharing their witness account of one of the first lightning strikes to cause the beginning of an unruly wildfire season while staying at Judi’s cousin’s home in Prince George.

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After a long cry – and a fun set of weekend events hosted by Prince George for evacuees – Judi is leaving the fate of her community and her and Art’s home of 20 years in the hands of Mother Nature.

“I think the firefighters know how to put out a fire, and they will put a fire,” she said, “and if they don’t it’s because Mother Nature took over and there’s nothing they can do – so really, it’s up to the wind.”

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Taking minds off of the fire

Prince George and Kamloops have been given a lot of praise in recent days for welcoming evacuees with open arms – literally – and volunteering anything from lawn space, spare bedrooms, to paying it forward at the grocery store checkout.

The kind gestures help soften the anxiety and mixed reports as evacuees play the waiting game for updates on fire growth and direction.

To be somewhere where everything is looked after – “and you don’t have to think” about food or where you’re sleeping for the night lifts a heft weight off evacuees’ shoulders, Judi said.

“The follow-through has been incredible,” Judi said.