The Big Lake Community Association, recalling its own experiences of the 2017 wildfires, is urging Cariboo-Chilcotin residents to support fire-ravaged Australia. (Nichola Gilbert file photo)

Big Lake fundraising to assist Australian community devastated by fires

The region benefitted from Australian help during the 2017 wildfires: Big Lake Community Association

A small community association in the Cariboo-Chilcotin is joining efforts to support one of the hundreds of Australian communities in need as unprecedented wildfires ravage the country.

Big Lake Community Association president Bee Hooker said after seeing so much terrible news about the situation in Australia the board of directors decided to start a campaign to raise funds for Thowgla Valley.

Over the past weeks Thowgla Valley has been under extreme threat from bush fires with many paddocks burnt out, fences destroyed, cattle without feed and some homes have been lost.

When Big Lake hosts its upcoming second annual Wine Survivor Night on Saturday, Feb. 1, all money raised will go to Thowgla Valley.

“We were fortunate in 2017 to suffer no structural losses in the 10 weeks or so that we fought back the fire in and around our country,” Hooker told the Tribune, adding Big Lake was fortunate not to lose any structures during the 10 weeks firefighters and equipment operators fought back the fires in and around the community.

Hooker reminded that during the 2017 wildfires, people came from other parts of the province, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to help fight fires and Big Lake benefitted from shipments of supplies that arrived from Fort McMurray.

Read more: Out-of province personnel from Australia and Newfoundland enjoyed stint with Cariboo Fire Centre

“Many tears were shed at the realization of this show of the goodness of humanity,” Hooker said of the outside assistance.

The association is hoping by finding some commonality between the two communities it can bring more attention to the situation and more funds.

Thowgla has started a GoFundMe to try and raise funds for much-needed fire truck.

“We encouraged all community members to do what you can for Australia,” Hooker said. “Send donations to the Red Cross like the folks from Horsefly are doing or take the road less travelled like us here in Big Lake and find some friends and neighbours you never knew you had.”

Read more: Williams Lake businesswoman launches T-shirt fundraiser for fire-ravaged Australia

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