Remmi Billy, 1, rests on her dad Kris Billy’s shoulder as they wait to register at an evacuation centre in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday July 9, 2017, after being evacuated from their home in Hat Creek due to a wildfire burning near Cache Creek. B.C. government officials now estimate that 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to wildfires burning in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Fort McMurray helps B.C.: ‘Being through it, we know exactly what’s needed.”.

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Seeing reports of the wildfire evacuations in British Columbia has brought back stressful memories for residents of Fort McMurray, who had to flee a massive wildfire just over a year ago.

But they’ve sprung into action by collecting donations of supplies for first responders, driving those supplies to B.C., and offering advice and guidance for evacuees through a Facebook page.

“Last year, everybody throughout our whole country was awesome and the support we had was very emotional for everybody. It meant so much,” said Stephanie Klaamas, a Fort McMurray resident who helped organize a trailer-load of relief supplies that left for B.C. on Sunday morning.

“We want to be able to help as much as we can. And being through it, we know exactly what’s needed.”

Garrett Shaw, who lost his house in the Fort McMurray fire and now lives in Grande Prairie, Alta., also collected a load of supplies and drove them to B.C. on Saturday.

“There is no stage large enough for Fort McMurray to stand on, and our gratitude to be heard, for the kindness and generosity we received last year during the fire,” Shaw said Sunday afternoon from just outside Kamloops, B.C.

“Any stress that we might be feeling is overcome by the excitement that we have that we’re able to return the favour — that we’re the people running towards the fire this time instead of away from it.”

The supplies they’ve collected include water, snacks, toiletries to help people who are fighting the fires. The organizers said they’ve made arrangements with officials or other volunteers in B.C. to receive them.

Klaamas said the efforts began with a message to a Facebook page that was established last year to help Fort McMurray residents. It was from a woman in 100 Mile House, B.C., with animals who wasn’t sure what to do.

Klaamas said the page wasn’t particularly active anymore. Nevertheless, the woman received hundreds of responses and Klaamas started a new Facebook page for Fort McMurray residents to help B.C. evacuees.

There’s advice on contacting insurance companies and taking pictures or video of your home’s contents. If you have time, people have posted, empty your refrigerator before you leave.

Klaamas said the response in Fort McMurray for donations has been so large that other trailers are being loaded with supplies for evacuees, such as clothes and diapers.

Some of those donations are being received and distributed by volunteers with a group called The Postmen, which got its start during the Fort McMurray fire by helping people who became stranded during the evacuation.

Jessica Cressey, a Postmen volunteer in Kamloops, has been accepting and sorting donations in her yard and carport. Other volunteers help connect the donations with people who need them.

“Once they become involved, they become a Postman as well,” Cressey said.

Just Posted

What Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

If you are what you Google, Canadians are a pretty broad-minded lot.… Continue reading

Housing market expected to slow next year, but prices still forecast to rise

TORONTO — New stricter mortgage rules are expected to slow the housing… Continue reading

High-end hockey, millions of dollars to come to Red Deer with Ivan Hlinka hockey tournament

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup will bring fast-paced, high-end hockey to Red… Continue reading

WATCH: Finishing touches being put on Servus Arena

The finishing touches are being put on Red Deer’s newest arena. The… Continue reading

Suspect in police chase in court

RCMP opened fire twice while trying to arrest suspects in vehicle chase in October

Red Deer police seize rifles and shotguns from storage locker

A man and a woman facing nearly 200 charges after 29 firearms seized last month

Notley criticizes MLA who fired staffer after sex harassment complaint

Notley says if Jason Nixon was her house leader he’d be out of a job immediately.

Red Deer needs to find a solution to syringe debris: city manager

City will consider the problem during the 2018 operating budget talks

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer Dec. 10

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

VIDEO: B.C. to end geographic area rent increases, close fixed-term lease loopholes

Both clauses allowed landlords to raise rents above the max annual allowable rent increase

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

A Red Deer daycare coordinator wins provincial award of excellence

Nicole Morrell is a coordinator at Johnstone Daycare

Holiday shopping season picking up in Red Deer

With 18 shopping days left until Christmas, Red Deer businesses are cautiously… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month