Shuswap residents and businesses are showing they have the backs of Sicamous residents and firefighters battling a nearby wildfire.
As of July 21, the Two Mile Road fire, which began after a vehicle struck a power pole on Highway 97A, had grown to about 400 hectares in size.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) issued an evacuation order for properties in Two Mile and the south end of Sicamous. Approximately 1,000 people were evacuated as a result. An evacuation alert was issued for properties north of the area under evacuation order, up to Highway 1.
As firefighting efforts continue, Shuswap residents and businesses have been reaching out on social media, offering help that’s just a direct message away.
On the Facebook groups Sicamous Rant & Rave and Shuswap Everything Friendly Goes, community members have been offering food, shelter, transportation and more.
In a July 20 interview, Sicamous mayor Terry Rysz said it’s remarkable to see how quickly people came together to help amid the wildfire.
“The community is really supportive, there’s been calls that I’ve got saying, you’ve got my yard, you’ve got whatever you need,” he said.
For places to stay, people have offered cabins, rooms, tents and RV parking space.
For transportation, rides were offered from many vehicle owners.
Many that offered shelter also offered home-cooked meals to evacuees. Additionally, multiple efforts are underway to coordinate food and drink drop-offs for firefighters in Sicamous.
One such effort is coming from Salmon Arm-based pizzeria Little B’s, co-owned by Sharlene Neville and her daughter Brittany Neville.
The mother and daughter duo has started a fund to feed firefighters in Sicamous. Donations to the fund, which can be made in-person or sent via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, will be matched by the business.
The first order of pizzas was delivered to firefighters at 3:30 p.m. on July 21. Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino helped arrange delivery at the roadblock on Highway 97A.
The business plans to continue as long as donations come in, and will be using donations to buy food from other local businesses to deliver as well. Donors to the fund can put a message on the pizzeria’s feed the firefighters fund board.