It was a scene exactly how you would expect as 23 toddlers and their mothers gathered to pose for a picture.
Moms bounced babies on their knees, some already walking stumbled off, to be chased down and caught, and others chatted to anyone who would listen.
Almost a year after their first picture, the “fire babies” as they have been dubbed, gathered for a second photo shoot at the Williams Lake Fire Department.
The fire babies are those who were born during the summer, and consequently, wildfires of 2017.
Last September, 31 of them gathered for a stunning photo, and in June, 23 of them, with parents in tow, gathered again, a little older this time.
“I thought it would be really cool to bring everyone together and see how big the babies got,” said Amy Emery, a mother to Carver, but also the organizer of the original picture via a Facebook group for fire babies that she started. Originally from Detroit, she lives at 150 Mile with her family, and gave birth while evacuated in Prince George.
The group has also come together to sponsor local families and businesses in need with the proceeds of the photo and donations.
Last fall, the group gave donations to the 4 Paws Food Bank in Kamloops, who provided pet food and places to stay for evacuated animals, and over the winter helped support a family with a fire baby and two older siblings.
This time, Emery says proceeds will be donated to the Potato House.
Photographer Laureen Carruthers was on hand with a foot stool to make sure she got all the babies and moms into the photo.
The experience of having the community of fire baby families has been refreshing, says Emery.
“Because I am from Detroit, we don’t have close knit stuff like I’ve experienced here. When the fires happened when we went to Prince George everyone was so nice and the people we stayed with were very accommodating and it was just amazing to see the community come together. It’s refreshing. It’s nice.”
It’s a bright light that came from a summer of smoke.
“It was such a devastating time for everybody and I felt that bringing the community together, especially the babies that could grow up together and be friends, is something really wonderful that came out of something so devastating.”
As for Carver, her son: ”My baby is great. He is busy, very busy, but everybody is good and everybody is growing big and walking — hitting all their milestones. We kept in touch through the group and we intend on doing more of that through the years.