North Okanagan businesses rally behind West Rock Lake wildfire evacuees

Restaurants, toy shops and utilities offer supports to those displaced by area wildfire

Fires burn out of control in the Interior of British Columbia, as seen from a Vancouver-bound plane on Aug. 6, 2021. (Nosehold - Reddit)

Fires burn out of control in the Interior of British Columbia, as seen from a Vancouver-bound plane on Aug. 6, 2021. (Nosehold - Reddit)

Eyes were on the White Rock Lake wildfire burning northeast of Vernon last night (Aug. 5) as more evacuees were forced to flee and now the local business community is trying to offer some comfort in trying times.

The Fig is offering free coffee and food for evacuees.

“We can’t imagine the stress you must be going through right now,” the Fig said in a post to social media. “Our hearts go out to all the communities that have been evacuated, unsure of what will be left when they return. We can’t offer shelter or assurances, but we can offer food, drinks and positive supportive space.”

Vernon Teach and Learn has prepared 100 surprise gift bags for evacuated children.

“Our hearts are heavy as we think of many people evacuated,” a post from the shop reads. “We are inviting all the kids that have been evacuated up to the age of 12 to drop by the store Friday or Saturday.”

The Okanagan Science Centre is also offering free admission to families evacuated. The centre, in Polson Park is open Friday until 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We cannot imagine what you are going through and the amount of stress you are experiencing. We are here for you,” the centre said in a post.

Vernon’s Fox Plumbing is offering all White Rock Lake wildfire evacuees a free furnace and water heater inspection once people can return home.

This will ensure those main appliances are safe and unaffected by smoke and ash.

“This is a very stressful time and we would like to lighten the load once this threat has passed,” Ted Fox said. “Together we will have a brighter tomorrow.”

The Pink Rock Ice Cream Shoppe in Armstrong is offering a bit of comfort to those displaced by the fire.

“Our little shoppe is surrounded by smoky skies and increasing evacuation orders and alerts from the White Rock Lake wildfire. We want to help but weren’t quite sure how,” the newest addition to Armstrong’s business community said in a social media post.

“We want to welcome evacuees and your four-legged dog friend to the Pink Rock to come enjoy a treat, freshwater or cold drink on us. It’s not much.”

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B.C. Wildfires 2021