by Sonia Dennis

My heart aches, for all that once was, has now been changed forever. A life we called normal is now anything but…

I cry for my people who have been left with nothing but rubble. The children that are displaced and sleeping in unfamiliar beds.

I try to imagine what it would be like to look upon this place we call God’s country. I find myself asking “Why?” like I expect an answer back.

Is this Mother Nature’s way of cleansing the earth, renewing the land? Questions that have no comfort.

Hours on hours we sit and wonder, hours to hours our people cry.

Hours on hours our men and women, out there in the ash stricken land working to save what little is left.

Exhaustion and fatigue is noticeable on their faces, but yet they work. Some can barely breathe but yet they try.

Their lungs burn and crave for just a little fresh air, as the sky around them is engulfed in grey.

When will this nightmare end? We don’t know. The many difficult nights of being away from home, without knowing the days to the months that it will take.

And through all this we still can find a little light of hope, strength, support, and resilience.

Through all this I see people gathering together. Holding each other up like we’ve never done before. Putting all shit aside and joining together. People who never talked before have found a friendship. Nations helping nations.

So many have banned together to help, so many strangers have now become our allies, our family.

Tahltan Strong is the slogan used, but this action of hope is much more than that, it is nations united. So many people from so many walks of life have come together. It is so overwhelming to know that they are here to help, from bake sales to hampers to flats of water. This is what life and love is about. Holding each other up when we are at our weakest, no matter who we are we can’t forget who is there. Let us always remember the stranger that walked into our offices saying “I’m here to help”.

You will forever be etched in my heart.

You, me, them is no more. It is now “US”.

From the north, to the south, east and west. We are of the 4 directions, 4 elements, 4 colours.

I am no greater than you, you are no greater than me. In times of devastation we tend to see this greatness bloom with in us. A strength that will tell us: We are greater TOGETHER than we are as “one”.

Money can’t buy the richness of unconditional love, and compassion.

From the firefighters who shared a meal, to the Mexican and Australians who have flown for days, to the ladies and gentlemen who sit for hours peeling and cutting to make sure there is a meal. You have all been god sent.
Some may wonder how a person can find such hope through this darkness, and I will tell you sometimes when you are in your darkest moments you will look to any good there may be, because giving up is not the answer.

There is a lesson to be learned. A chance to rebuild. Humankind sometimes lose their way and get lost in the chaos of materialistic ways. Our land is a gift and as humans we sometimes forget that and take it for granted. We all have choices, we all have chances to be a better WE. I find blessings every day, some days bigger than others but it still is there to be found.

Dahdene daga dadenesgāk, łige dene dah khūni ja’

Sonia Dennis is the Language revitalization assistant at Tahltan, Dease Lake, British Columbia, Canada.

The Alkali Lake fire has reached the community of Telegraph Creek, destroying dozens of structures. (Trina Anne Gleason-Zubek)

A devastating wildfire burning in Tahltan territory in northern B.C. burnt down dozens of structures in its path forcing the residents to evacuate. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate, including firefighters that initially stayed to fight the fires.

The community has set up a Facebook page to give regular updates about the fires around Telegraph Creek and area. 

South Stikine River (R92030) – August 6, 2018

The Stikine Complex of nine wildfires is located near the remote communities of Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake in northwestern BC. The Alkali Lake fire near Telegraph has shown aggressive fire behaviour and has grown to an estimated size of 7,800 hectares. Many areas of the fire were unsafe for ground crews and heavy equipment operators to access today, which limited progress on the fire. Airtankers and helicopters focussed their efforts on dropping water and retardant on the south flank of this fire, near the community of Telegraph Creek. The growth today was mainly to the northeast but there was activity in all areas of the fire. The South Stikine River fire is now approximately 6,000 hectares and is also burning aggressively with visible surface flame and crowning trees, as seen in this video. The fire crossed the Stikine River today. Crew efforts were focussed on securing the main transportation corridor, including two wooden bridges on highway 51, to ensure firefighters can safely travel to and from these wildfires. An evacuation order is in effect in the area and highway 51 is closed as a result. For more information about the evacuation order, please visit the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine’s website. Visit the Fires of Note page on bcwildfire.ca for additional information about these fires.

Posted by BC Wildfire Service on Monday, August 6, 2018