Press Release


Fire Book Project Seeks Stories


  The story of the Okanagan Mountain Fire has been thoroughly documented in thousands of photographs but there are many stories of bravery, daring and compassion that have yet to be put into print.


  A new book, supported by the Okanagan Freelance Writers’ Association, will tell these stories and the public is being asked make up the majority of the volume.

  Throughout the weeks of the fire countless people found themselves doing and feeling things they had never done or felt before. The fire propelled a course of action unprecedented during most lifetimes. The flames forced people to face fear as they stood together in a united defence. Each person had a different role, each neighbourhood a different plight.

  It is this rich and diverse story of human action during a natural but surreal disaster that interests the Writers’ Association. The project involves gathering stories written by ordinary people who did what they had to do, whether flee, evacuate, cook, fight flames, dig, call, organize, make critical decisions or mop up.

  The book, titled Touch the Flame, will be published in the spring. Stories should be two or three pages long. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 04. They can be sent to: [email protected]

  Revenue from book sales will be donated to aid disaster victims throughout the province.

  Project co-ordinator Jorie Soames said, “There are others preparing books about the Okanagan Mountain Fire but none seem to be compiling stories from the ordinary folk.    This not-for-profit work of original stories speaks of a community committed to healing together. There can be no measure of the cultural richness this will provide for future generations. We need to tell our stories.”



I never thought the drone of helicopters and water-bombers flying over my house from sunup to sundown would be a comforting sound…

Join us in telling our stories.


 Announcing a community directed book project.

Telling our own story, our own way.



Let’s get writing. We don’t want to lose these important thoughts and chain of events. Share and preserve the stories of Kelowna Mountain Park Fire.


We are creating a book featuring 60-80 stories from evacuees, host families, volunteers, firefighters, heavy equipment operators, soldiers, bombers, heli pilots, emergency personnel, farmers, news reporters, families who lost homes and mop-up workers.


All portray the hearts and feelings of Kelowna and Naramata, all tell an important chapter of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.


What did the fire cause you to face? How did you face it? Who were you able to help along the way? Who helped you?


Preserve a piece of history for your grandchildren.



For more information on being involved in this community project, or writing guidelines,

Send an e-mail to [email protected]

Story Deadline: March 31st, 04




A not for profit project

Sponsored by Okanagan Freelance Writer’s Association


Guidelines For Contribution
Touch the Flame-Community Book Project


Stories should be personal or family accounts of your experiences and thoughts during the Kelowna Mountain Park Fire. Tell us of the events that compelled you and caused you to face the reality of the fire, head on, resulting in bravery, compassion or helpfulness to others. In your words, tell how the fire situation caused you to be a better person, face the fear, and do what you were given to do. We want to know what you went through and what you learned from it.


We are looking for a cross section of people, from evacuees and evacuee hosts to volunteers or emergency crewmembers, and people who are rebuilding their homes, neighbourhoods and lives. We hope to include between 60 to 80 stories in the book.


Stories should be well written, but you do not need to be a writer. We have writers at this end for editing and writing help.


Approximate length: 400-1200 words, double-spaced typed or electronically submitted.


Your name, address, e-mail and phone number should appear on the first page, along with an approx. word count.  Please use Microsoft Word or Works programs if possible.


All stories should be submitted by March 31, 2004 to: [email protected]        

Or mail to:

Touch the Flame

c/o 1381 Cherry Cres. E.,

Kelowna, BC V1Y 3Y2


Phone Contact: Jorie Soames (project coordinator) 765-5185

                         Glenna Turnbull (editing coordinator) 861-6701


Stories not chosen will be returned to the writer. Stories chosen for the book Touch the Flame; will be printed in the spring, if we have enough interest in the project. Prior to print, you will be consulted about any editing of your story. There will be an honorarium of $25.00 and a free copy of Touch the Flame to each published author.


The purpose of the book is to celebrate healing in our community, and to help others process some of what we went through. It is a book that reminds us of our need to help others and to be helped, a part of our human history we’d like to see preserved.


This is a community project,

sponsored by Okanagan Freelance Writer’s Association.

All profits will be donated to aid disaster victims in Canada.