Cache Creek, B.C., residents prepare to go home after fire evacuation
Residents of Cache Creek, B.C., are thrilled to be heading home after being rushed out by a fast-moving wildfire, but fear an uphill battle in repairing the community’s tourism economy.
Lisa Balouch, manager of the Sunset Motel, says the loss of 11 days of visitors is significant, not only to hotels but also to restaurants, gas stations and other businesses dependent on tourists.
“We had people coming from Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, all across Canada, the U.S.,” she said in an interview from Venables Valley, a short drive from Cache Creek.
“We’re in the midst of our really busy season. When you go from having a motel full of people every night and then nothing ... So many people depended on those tourists coming through for money. Not only did they lose that money, but now they have to spend money doing cleanup.”
More than 40,000 people remain out of their homes as 155 wildfires burn across the province. Cache Creek, located in the province’s Interior with a population of about 1,000, was the first major community to be evacuated after the wildfires broke out July 7. Mayor John Ranta said the fire within Cache Creek destroyed two airport hangars and one house at the airport.
Volunteers from Kamloops Community Futures fold donated clothes evacuees at the Pow Wow Grounds in Kamloops, B.C., on Tuesday.