BC Wildfire Service firefighters at the Eagle Bluff wildfire burning about 10 kilometres south of Okanagan Falls. (Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire)

South Okanagan pays it forward to BC Wildfire Service firefighters

Community members thank Eagle Bluff firefighters through Tim Hortons donations

Tim Hortons customers are known for paying it forward, however the manager of a South Okanagan location said a recent outpouring of support for wildfire firefighters went above and beyond.

It took just one day after the Eagle Bluff wildfire started, in the Gallagher Lake region about 15 kilometres north of Oliver, for donations to start to pour in.

READ MORE: Wildfire crews credited with saving Okanagan raptor rehab centre

“That very next day (Aug. 5) a lady came through and handed us $20 to pay for the firefighters food and by the end of the day we were getting $50 and $20 handed to us at a time from a bunch of customers. It was just incredible. We didn’t ask anyone, they were doing it out of their own gratitude because they would drive through and see the fire crews setting up just outside of our store in the morning,” said Shelley Kalmback, manager of the Tim Hortons store just south of Gallagher Lake at the Gulf gas station.

With two of her employees’ residences, and the store itself — which did close down one night as the flames grew closer on the mountainside, located in what was an evacuation alert zone, the kind gesture for the wildfire firefighters hit home for the Tim Hortons workers.

READ MORE: RDOS rescinds evacuation alert for 41 properties near Eagle Bluff

“These firefighters were coming off shift tired, worn out, sooty looking and they were exhausted. Whether it was the morning shift coming in or the night shift coming off 12 hours of work they always had smile and were polite and friendly,” said Kalmback. “I’m getting teary-eyed talking about it, it was so incredible to see something like this. I know a lot of people gave that really don’t have a lot of money to give, but they wanted to do something to say thank you.”

Kalmback said the firefighters were gracious in taking the support and their debit cards and cash to pay for their own meals kept being denied because the community kept paying it forward to them.

“The firefighters were in absolute shock and couldn’t believe the community was doing this for them. The firefighters were looking at me saying ‘we are just doing our job’ and I would remind them that this is a small community and we stick together around here. It has been an emotional 10-plus days,” said Kalmback.

The Tim Hortons manager said the “war zone” type sounds of helicopters and planes buzzing overhead to help support the ground crews is starting to subside and life is starting to settle back in to normal.

BC Wildfire has classified the Eagle Bluff fire as held, meaning they are not expecting it to grow any further than the 2,632 hectares that it reached. A decrease in resources is anticipated as they take a modified response approach to the north flank. Areas of the fire that posed a threat to buildings have been fully suppressed and currently in patrol status thanks to the successful planned ignitions to move the fire into the controlled zones.

To report a typo, email: editor@keremeosreview.com.


@KeremeosReview
editor@keremeosreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

City of Revelstoke pays $6.89 million in wages in 2019

27 employees were paid more than $75,000 last year

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan Correctional Centre outbreak due to training session: Interior Health

Interior Health said in a statement the staff members were at an off-site training session

Invasive mussel monitoring stations detect 10 boats

Boats were headed to Okanagan and Thompson regions

City of Revelstoke adding new full-time social development position

The current coordinator is a part-time contractor

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Interpretive salmon classes at Kingfisher Creek get financial aid

Funds from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program will help raise Shuswap River salmon awareness

Illegal dumping, yelling at staff: problems at North Okanagan waste facility

Regional district says security cameras have been installed at the Silver Star Transfer Station

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

UPDATE: Fire in Lake Country a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Most Read