This is all that remains of Joey Thomas’s home after it was destroyed by the wildfire at Williams Lake Indian Band’s Sugar Cane community on Friday, July 7. Photo submitted.

This is all that remains of Joey Thomas’s home after it was destroyed by the wildfire at Williams Lake Indian Band’s Sugar Cane community on Friday, July 7. Photo submitted.

VIDEO: Home lost in Sugar Cane wildfire

Williams Lake Indian Band member Joey Thomas’s home was destroyed by the Sugar Cane wildfire last Friday.

Last Friday Joey Thomas of Williams Lake Indian Band lost his home when a wildfire rapidly hit his community of Sugar Cane.

He returned to the site for the first time Thursday and said there was nothing left.

“I lived there most of my life,” he said, adding he shared the home with Valva Tenale.

When the fire started he wasn’t at home and since then he’s been staying with family and friends.

WLIB band councillor Willie Sellars told Tribune Friday afternoon that the band met with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and were told the costs to rebuild Thomas’s home would be covered.

“I saw Joey today and was able to tell him that and he was so happy, he hugged me,” Sellars said. “It really lifted his spirits.”

Sellars said the community lost some outbuildings and a number of vehicles as well.

“Like all residents of the Cariboo and other areas impacted by wildfires, we’re struggling to deal with ongoing impacts of this disaster,” Sellars said. “The fire burned right through the most populated areas of Sugar Cane. It’s truly remarkable that more structures weren’t lost, and we’re very grateful that there has been no loss of life.”

Sellars was home in the community when there was a knock on his door alerting him of the fire and to evacuate.

“I went back the next day to help fight the fire along with our Williams Lake Indian band firefighters the forestry firefighters.”

As a result of the blaze the community lost large stands of timber as well as damage to a significant amount of land around Coyote Golf Course, which the community owns.

Sellars said the band wants to recognize the efforts of all the firefighters, both from outside the community and within the community that have been battling, and continue to battle, the blaze.

“Those people are true heroes and we’re extremely grateful for their efforts. We know that we’re not done yet, though. Our community, and other communities around B.C., are still at risk. We need to remain diligent and to cooperate with all the agencies that are working together to deal with the fires.”

Caused by lightning strikes, the wildfire tore down the hill above the community and quickly spread around the golf course and eventually hopped Highway 97 east of Mission Road.

Community members were evacuated only having moments to grab a few basic possessions, pets and other important items. The bulk of the community remains under the evacuation order, although some members of the community have remained in their homes. Anyone wishing to access services can contact the WLIB downtown office at 778-417-0109 or visit the office at 172 Second Avenue North in Williams Lake.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A heavy snowfall in the Chilcotin overnight, as seen here at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake on Friday, Nov. 27, has resulted in several downed power lines and the closure of some of Highway 20. (Graham West photo)
Heavy snowfall, downed power lines, Highway 20 closed Bella Coola to Anahim Lake

A travel advisory is in effect between Tatla Lake and Anahim Lake

More than 60 centimeters of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Newly elected Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson participated in a virtual oath ceremony with the BC Liberal Caucus on Friday, Nov. 27. Here he poses for a photograph with Kate Ryan-Lloyd, clerk of the legislature. (Screen image taken of YouTube live stream)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA participates in BC Liberal Caucus virtual oath ceremony

First-time MLA Lorne Doerkson will represent the region

Snow continues to fall near Anahim Lake as shown here on the DriveBC webcam Friday, Nov. 27. (DriveBC image)
Snowfall warning for Chilcotin expected to last until noon Friday

Drive BC is warning of black ice between Tatla Lake and Alexis Creek

Patrons exercise at Re4rm Fitness prior to last week’s new, provincial COVID-19 regulations. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake fitness centres adapt amid new COVID-19 regulations

Gymnastics, dance studios, martial arts, yoga, pilates, strength and conditioning impacted

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
Two Fraser Valley churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read