Cache Creek, B.C., res­i­dents pre­pare to go home af­ter fire evac­u­a­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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.

CP PHOTO

Vol­un­teers from Kam­loops Com­mu­nity Fu­tures fold do­nated clothes evac­uees at the Pow Wow Grounds in Kam­loops, B.C., on Tues­day.

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