Okanagan Mountain Fire Watch

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Poems, Songs, Stories and Letters Inspired by Events
 Surrounding the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire

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Click on a date below or scroll down.

Saturday August 23
Sunday August 24
  Monday August 25
Tuesday August 26
Wednesday August 27
Thursday August 28
Saturday August 30
  Monday September 1
Tuesday September 2

Wednesday September 3
Thursday September 4
Friday September 5
Saturday September 6
Sunday September 7
  Monday September 8
Wednesday September 10
Sunday September 14
Sunday, September 14

"Hollywood Ending"
by Matt

Camera pans from darkened sky to jagged spires cathedral pine.
Rainfall spits on blackened ash as shot draws tight to catch the splash.
Faces lift with look of wonder, camera moves from on to n'other.
As raindrops streak the soot and grime, the eyes, the teeth, the smiles shine.
From forest orange and grunts on line, to pretty faces, engines shine.
Camera pans to each again as sky is framed to show the rain.
Shot now tightens for light correct, on weathered face that glass reflects.
The chief draws close to look outside, the focus sharpens on his eyes.
As streaks slide down the window pane, the drop on cheek, is not of rain.
Music swells, to black we fade, another TV movie's made!

- coming soon to a screen near you, Kelowna!

Wednesday, September 10

On the night of Wednesday, August 20, 2003
By LilScout

On the night of Wednesday, August 20, 2003, I found myself in the most surreal world I have ever imagined. I sat before my home computer reading  updates of the advancing fire. The anxiety within me was becoming apparent.  I thought of where the fire was advancing and what areas would be affected  soon. I have friends in the area of the Kettle Valley Community. I knew the fire must be getting closer to their "neck of the woods". I wanted to call to tell my friends of my concern for them and their home, but the phone  lines were busy over and over again. I drove to their neighborhood and saw  they had several people already on hand helping them, so with that peace of mind I set out to bear witness.

At this point in time I had not put much thought into the label of "looky-loo" and so without regard for such, I was off to see if I could find a vantage point to witness the growth. I found myself sitting by the side of the road beside a children's playground area. I stopped my car along the side of the road and joined a small handful of others who were equally amazed with this occurrence. The fire was above the
Kettle Valley community and appeared to be advancing down the mountain, through the gullies and over each ridge at an alarming and relentless rate.  The smoke coming from the fire was thick and blocked out the sky above. Because of the terrain, wind conditions and a host of other contributing  factors, the smoke seemed to be spilling over the mountains, creating a  floodplain of sorts above the community. Above the playground. Above the threatened families.

The hour was late now. Much later than the usual  bedtime for children, but there were children awake and alert. Entire families were sitting on porches, gathering in groups with lawn chairs arranged in semi-circles. Everyone was facing the south. Watching.

The main source of light was the fire. The orange glow was cast over everything. Homes, streets, sidewalks, cars were all tinted with the orange color. The dirt on the playground was an eerie sight with the orange glowing light casting diffused irregular tones. I sat watching as the flames seemingly rolled down the mountain. The thought of lava occurred several times as I gazed in disbelief. I pondered the fact that this could very be the closest I get to a volcano in my lifetime.  Although it was nothing even remotely akin to a volcano, the resemblance from video footage and still photos was
uncanny to me. It didn't occur to me at the time that this was more than likely the closest I would ever get to an enormous wildfire. It certainly didn't occur to me that this was in fact the closest I would likely ever get to what was soon to become an enormous firestorm.

I felt uneasy when I looked about and saw the relaxed manner of the people living in these homes. They watched seemingly unknowing that there homes were in such incredible jeopardy. The scene was absolutely incredible. If I may paint the picture for you in words. The glow of the fire illuminating all with a fiery orange glow. The smoke hanging overhead just above the tops of homes and seemingly
tangled in the upper branches of the nearby trees. A grey ceiling of smoke lingered and blocked out the surrounding area and anything above. It was like being in a dreamscape. Not a good dream.

The entire effect was brought to a head when I thought I heard children's voices giggling and laughing quietly. Much like I recall from my own childhood when us kids would be playing at something we weren't supposed to be playing at, all the time thinking we were out of earshot to our parents. I looked over my left shoulder and they they were. A small group of children, perhaps four or five, were stooped in an uncomfortable huddle in the middle of the grounds.  They ranged in age from likely five or six to perhaps eight or nine. They
were playing marbles. Playing marbles by the light of a fire. The crackling sounds of trees candling, with the roar of the wind through the fiery trees was broken by the sound of pure, untainted innocence.

The scene was too  much. I started to become overwhelmed with all the images I was absorbing.  This seemed to unreal to be real. I shook my head. I actually shook my head to make sure I was not dreaming. The scene was incredibly eerie. Much like a scene from the infamous Elm Street. It seemed that the perfect world had been brought into a terrible movie and I was drawn into the scene as a direct result of my curiosity.

Once I regained my thoughts and felt grounded once again I looked over the entire scene again. It was still the same. It still had the same effect on me. I knew enough this time to refrain from shaking my head, but the urge was there. I wanted to smile at the scene of the children playing marbles. I didn't know the game of marbles was still
alive. I hadn't seen kids play marbles in years. Many years. I don't know what rules they were playing by, or if they even had rules, but I was still impressed that they had a hole, likely dug with the heel of a small shoe, and into that hole they were flicking marbles with their dirty little hands.

I wanted to smile, but I couldn't. I physically could not smile. I was
surrounded by a scene of hell from horror movie. I couldn't smile when
people were in such a state. My eyes became laden with tears. Emotions ran wild for a few minutes. I had no control. I wept for the innocence. I wept for the losses. I wept for the fear a lot of these people must have had, but were hiding so well. Hiding fear for the sake of their families and loved ones.

As the night rolled on, people began to show more concern. They were
coming out into open areas for a better look at the enormity of this
situation. There was an energy in the air I had never felt before. I don't
know how to describe it accurately but the energy seemed to exude fear. There was worry on faces that had been smiling only a short time before. The energy in the air seemed to enhance awareness for all. Vehicles were being loaded with goods now. Some people were braving the scene and defying the fire.

I knew I had to go soon. I felt I was no longer supposed to be here.
Not that I belonged in the first place, but I now knew in my heart that the people of the community needed their space. They had work to do. I offered a few people my help in loading goods. I had to try to help. But nobody took  my offer. They all assured me they needed no help. "Just a few odds 'n' ends and we're done." I was thanked with genuine gratitude by each one. They even smiled.

As I geared up to leave and make my way home, a car drove by in slow motion. It had come from beyond my sight. It was obvious to me that the family contained in this car were fleeing their home. I watched as the family of four drove by slow enough that it seemed as though time was coming to a stop. Like a tape dragging in the VCR. The mother of the family was in the front passenger seat. As she turned to look over her shoulder I could see her expression. It was one I shall never forget. It was panic and fear.

As the flames and the enormity of this wall of flame came into sight for
her, she brought both hands to her face as though stifling a scream. Her mouth opened and I could hear through closed windows and engine noise a wail of terror. Her eyes were huge and her face was distraught and red.

I knew at that point, that there was no longer a place for me there. I reached down and turned the key in the ignition. My truck started and I put it in gear and followed the routine. A bit of gas as I eased the clutch out.

I openly cried on my way home that night. I cried I think more from what I knew in my heart was going to happen, than from what I had witnessed this night. It was now early Thursday morning and I was driving home from hell. I remember having an old song in my head as I drove home. I think it was Pat Benetar or someone in that era of music. The lyric was "Hell. Hell is for children." I can't help but think of that song when I picture those children playing in the dirt, lit only by the orange glow of a terrible disaster. Marbles. Who would have thought.

Monday, September 8

The Fire Dragon
By Cory and Anna Hildebrandt
Grande Prairie, Alberta

The dragon lay so sound asleep
Amid the silence of the trees.
He did not stir nor make a sound.
There was no action to be found
until the summer of two thousand and three.

Slowly he began to wake,
His body gave a fearful shake.
Fury rose up in his eyes
As he surveyed the clear blue skies.
In the summer of two thousand and three

He shook; he rose up from the ground
Out of him rose a dreadful sound.
The air began to smoke and flame,
The Dragon, was his fearful name.
In the summer of two thousand and three.

“The fight is on”. the dragon roared,
“I will not, cannot be ignored.
Too long have I lain fast asleep
Till the summer of two thousand and three”.

He sprang up mountains in a blast
Of energy that could not last.
Off tree tops high he did rebound
Leaving a crackling thundering sound.
In the summer of two thousand and three.

With great defiance and arrogant speed
The dragon continued increasing its lead.
Scorning the bombers, weather and map
His activity was almost becoming a snap.
In the summer of two thousand and three.

For many a week and many an hour
The dragon roared with awesome power.
Leaping quickly from tree to tree
Almost with carefree glee.
In the summer of two thousand and three+

The fire fighters never gave up,
As the fire dragon continued to erupt
With endless power strength and force,
To halt the dragon in its course.
In the summer of two thousand and three.

We pray, How long can this dragon last?
As they are hit with another blast.
Lord protect them from the heat,
discouragement, weariness and lack of sleep.
In the summer of two thousand and three.

Lord clear their minds from trauma deep
As they lay down to go to sleep.
Send them all an angel dear.
Let them know that you are near
When scenes flash by before their eyes
Calm their hearts, their minds their sighs.
In the summer of two thousand and three.


A Firefighter's Glove
by Scotty Weberg
Even though some of us are not home for the Kelowna Fire '03, we still fell your pain, and send all of our wishes and prayers your way. I would just like to thank all the firefighters and volunteers who helped save so many homes. You guys are truly real life heroes. I have many friends who fight those fires and I would like to say how proud I am to say that i simply know them, let alone call them friend. Thank you from down south.

A Firefighter's Gloves hold many things,
From elderly arms to a kids broken swing,
From the hands they shake and the backs they pat,
To the tiny claw marks of another treed cat.

At 2 am they are filled with the chrome,
From the DWI who was on her way home.
And the equipment they use to roll back the dash,
From a family of 6 she involved in the crash.

The brush rakes in Spring wear the palms out,
When the wind does a "90" to fill them with doubt.
The thumb of the glove wipes the sweat from the brow,
Of the face of a firefighter who mutters "What now"!

They hold inch and three quarters flowing one seventy five,
So the ones going in, come back out alive.
When the regulator goes; then there isn't too much,
But the bypass valve they eagerly clutch.

The rescue equipment, the ropes, the C-collars;
The lives that they save never measured in dollars,
Are the obvious things firefighters gloves hold,
Or, so that is what I've been always told.

But there are other things Firefighter's Gloves touch,
Those are the things we all need so much.
They hold back the rage on that 3 am call,
They hold in the fear when your lost in a hall,
They hold back the pity, agony, sorrow.
They hold in the desire to "Do it tomorrow".

A glove is just a glove till it's on firefighter,
Who work all day long just to pull an all-nighter.
And into the foray they charge without fear,
At the sound of a "Help" they think that they hear.

When firefighters' hands go into the glove,
It's a firefighter who always fills it with love.
Sometimes the sorrow is too much to bear,
And it seeps the glove and burns deep "in there".

Off come the gloves when the call is done,
And into the pocket until the next run.
The hands become lonely and cold for a bit,
And shake just a little thinking of it.

And we sit there so red eyed with our gloves in their coats,
The tears come so fast that the furniture floats.
We're not so brave now; our hands we can't hide,
I guess it just means that we're human inside.

And though some are paid and others are not,
The gloves feel the same when it's cold or it's hot.
To someone you're helping to just get along,
When you fill them with love, you always feel strong.

And so when I go on my final big ride,
I hope to have my gloves by my side,
To show to St. Peter at that heavenly gate.
Cause as everyone knows, Firefighters do not wait!***

***"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.***

Gods Gift To Our Town
By Kim McRae

This poem is written to all who feel tired blue and just need regeneration. We all believe in you and love and thank-you for every moment you give so selflessly and generously to saving our beautiful. I pains me to watch you all suffer inside, the build of no sleep and working so hard. "Reach inside your soul and pull up your strength, its right there waiting for you to call"

To all of you fighting the cause everyday
To all of you feeling, "why go on"
Remember that we have you all in our hearts
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

When you're feeling afraid and wish it would end
When your body feels heavy and long
Remember we all believe in your strengh
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

With each breath you take filled with smoke and pure hate
For a fire that just would not stop
We stand back and praise your efforts of faith
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

Each day that we see you all working away
The stress and the anguish show through
Remmber we thank you from the depth of our souls
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

All the uniforms of colour of red, green and black
That Canada has sent far and wide
Hang on to your hope and extrodinary faith
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

You show a whole nation and the world all around
That will power is ever so strong
We believe in you, so believe in yourself
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

"Never say never",don't give up till the end
Its your mind set that matters the most
Believe in the part of optimistic values
You are "Gods Gift To Our Town"

We will never be able to give back to you
The gift you dedicate from your heart
Just remember that each smile, you see all around
Is because of "Gods Gift To Our Town"

Sunday, September 7

After the Fires
By Terry Mooney

Vernon BC Singer-Songwriter Terry Mooney has just released a new song entitled " After The Fires". It is available free of charge to all.  (MP3 4MB)

After the fires have all died away
And the course of our grieving has run
We'll still be together, at home in this valley
After the burning is done

After the smoke and haze all blow away
And the ashes are left on the ground
We'll still have each other to love and to care for
After the fires die down

Catastropes bring out the best and the worst
And fear rules our nights and our days
The best is to stay and look after each other
Till the light drives the darkness away

Why do we put such importance on things?
Things that can burn and decay?
When they're all gone, we'll still have each other
After the flames die away

Let's build us a home far away from the forest
We'll rebuild those trestles again
With love and respect for the land and each other
Surely, after the fire comes rain

Saturday, September 6

Okanagan Fires
By Eric Jackson Aug 2003

Smoke choked the air.
The sky turned crimson
And the forest bled.
Bears stumbled blindly,
Frightened and dangerous,
They moved down the slopes.

Will the winds change direction?
They play meteorological roulette,
With the relief teams.
Status counts for nought.
Nature’s forces humble all men.
The lowly rattlesnake slithers past.

In the townships people watch and wait
Choosing favourite possessions.
Checked by the Mounties,
Hoping and praying for rains.
Planes circle the flames,
Dropping water bombs in futile gesture.

The Okanagan valley smoulders,
Blackened pine trees and stumps,
Replace the shining conifers of yesterday.
Lightning has struck in the storms.
Changing the landscape
Again and again.

Friday , September 5

Waiting for Miracle
By Bruce Cockburn

Submitted by Deborah (Stewart) McAnulty who writes. "While we wait and watch and PRAY FOR RAIN, a special dedication ... a message of gratitude and acknowledgment to the men and women involved in defending our little corner of the world.

In the words of a most profound, kind and intelligent global resident:"

Look at them working in the hot sun
The pilloried saints and the fallen ones
Working and waiting for the night to come
And waiting for a miracle
Somewhere out there is a place that's cool
Where peace and balance are the rule
Working toward a future like some kind of mystic jewel
And waiting for a miracle
You rub your palm
On the grimy pane
In the hope that you can see
You stand up proud
You pretend you're strong
In the hope that you can be
Like the ones who've cried
Like the ones who've died
Trying to set the angel in us free
While they're waiting for a miracle
Struggle for a dollar, scuffle for a dime
Step out from the past and try to hold the line
So how come history takes such a long, long time
When you're waiting for a miracle
You rub your palm
On the grimy pane
In the hope that you can see
You stand up proud
You pretend you're strong
In the hope that you can be
Like the ones who've cried
Like the ones who've died
Trying to set the angel in us free
While they're waiting for a miracle

Hear the song

"On a personal note, I would like to express special recognition to the crew from High Country Forestry & Fire Services, a family owned and operated Kelowna business for more than 20 years, led by my brother and sister-in-law Jim and Trisha Stewart and especially to my nephews Wyatt and Kirt and my niece Lindsay, all on the firelines every day. And a big THANK YOU to the High Country team for all the great photos posted here every day, especially the latest ones of the team on the KVR Trestles."

I cried today....
By Cynthia

The Myra Canyon Trestles are burning …
Becoming a meal for this furious beast of nature
A part of me is burning with them.
I've spent countless hours over the years..walking thru there...
My deepest thoughts embedded in some of the rocks & railing;

My husband didn't much like the drive up there (either way)
The gravel, potholed road, was tedious... (he babies his truck)
But up he took me so many times.... to walk, or ride my bike
and have some 'time' to myself
He knew I loved that place

I would stand on the trestles and look out at ‘time’
And a part of me will stand there for the rest of my life...
There is nothing like the sun on your face
and the wind at your back to make you feel 'timeless'

It was there I found comfort and escape from a world I did not always understand.
There, I found the needle to mend the hole in my heart.
There, I found a band aid for the wound on my soul.
There, I found a punching bag for the anger in my thoughts.
There, I found the Kleenex for the tears on my cheeks.
There that I found the ‘beauty’ in my ravaged body.
And it was there I found enough inner strength to face each new situation with courage and optimism and to see my future filled with promise and possibility;
And I knew that the darkest days would brighten if I just kept moving forward.
‘Time’… the great healer of all.

I remember hearing the wind whistling thru the tunnels...
Thinking it was trying to tell me something. and craning my head to listen....
but I couldn't make out the words...(it's probably just as well)

And in amongst my thoughts... there was a rumble.... a slow steady rumble....
my train cometh...

But those Memories, as all my others, are my life, they are a part of me now…
they make up who I am and who I will become.
And I know I wouldn't trade this sadness I feel today for anything in the world.

Goodbye my friend....
For all the roads I have been down, I am a better person for just the knowing of you....



"But I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world somehow I have to find;
And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive"
~~ Duran Duran

The Fight
By Carmen Margetts

As I look upon the darkened mountain
I see the bright red glow
Thinking of you worrying
About where it’s going to go.

I see the flames are shooting
Way up on the mountain tops
Worrying about the safety
Of all your men up top.

The fight you rage is a tough one
The inner pain so deep
To fight the fight of a trooper
Only to end up in retreat.

Keep the chin up high
You have nothing to look down for
The men and women you are fighting for
Don’t forget the children too.
Think the world of you………

Thank you for all that you are doing for us.



Thursday, September 4

The Phoenix
by Gino Michel Aubin

Lingering smoke and anxious hearts
Eyes seek the fire haunting us now
Like a spectre, a flaming reminder
That all is precious, all is fragile
Many a home lost, devoured, stained by tears
of those who could only be an audience
They can be rebuilt and new memories can be
salvaged from the ashes of the charred ones
Those ashes, still smouldering with life, ready to unleash a new beginning.
Like that fabled bird, fire for feathers,
searing heat for passion,we shall rise again
The burnt soil will foster a new home for
majestic trees and plentiful foliage.
What about our hearts? Sunken, sullen, in
despair. To witness this destruction, this
enigma of nature. The naysayers will say,
this is punishment, this has been deserved.
Nature has spoken, life will begin anew
The Phoenix will rise again.


Wednesday, September 3

Continuous Rage|
By DJ Streilein

The fiery blaze starts to flare,
Catching all the innocent unaware,
Springing into action our crews,
Racing up there with all we can use,
People leaving all their pride,
As we go on this fiery ride,
Our fire fighters getting dressed,
Ready to stab it’s fiery chest,
The snake continues to slither,
And the forest continues to wither,
Both man and woman pray for the best,
As we again put our skills to the test,
This seemingly immortal beast’s rage,
Keeps us in our blazing fiery cage,
Our eyes seem to deceive us,
Our senses are all we can trust,
We must save our Okanagan valley,
The destruction continues to tally,
Fire fighters are called upon once again,
Burst and explosions every now and then,
The rain is in our worried prayers,
But no luck from the weather surveyors,
This ride we’re on continues to drive,
As the flames continue to dive,
Both man and animal alike watch,
This fiery blaze continue to blotch,
I can’t say when it will end,
It’s destruction I will not pretend,
Now our smiles are beginning to fade,
As our enemy continues to raid,
But we will return those smile as best we can,
When we devise that strategic plan,
To finally bring down this formidable foe,
Then we will mourn for the ashes,
And all involved in the fires crashes,
But then we shall rejoice,
With the love of your choice.

Tuesday, September 2

Reflection Image
by Duane Vance

Duane Vance writes the following...

I am from the US. I live in Ohio and I have some very close friends that live in Kelowna. I have visited your fine city several times and when I heard of the horrible fires threatening it I was heartbroken...

In my sadness I was compelled to offer some sort of a tribute to those who are fighting this terrible battle and so I asked my friend from Westbank to please write something I could use to make a webpage with... I had the picture you will see if you follow the link that she had sent me and I created this...



Monday, September 1

Friends Forever
By The Gypsy Butterfly
Produced by Darryl Taylor & Trance Blackman
Listen to the MP3 here.

God brought you all in my Life
We will never be apart
for each and everyone of you
live deep within my heart

And you're all a gift to me
in my life
Yes you're all a gift to me
in my life

We walked through the pain
into healing, we came so far
We were all set free
to be who we are

And you're all a gift to me
in my life
Yes you're all a gift to me
in my life

We discovered the truth in us
we were set free to fly,
Spread our wings as eagles
and soar to the sky

As we go on life's journey,
may we always together stand
Together as one in spirit
hand in hand


Saturday, August 30

by Kim McRae

My home is called Kelowna
Though I live a ways away
I saw the Fiery glow
On the T.V. today

My heart it broke with sadness
And my tears weld up inside
For the city of Kelowna
Had taken a horrible ride

As the days went on before them
And the fire grew and flared
The world dove down upon them
As the city stood and stared

There was nothing they could do
But watch it from afar
And hope the fire fighters
Could hold it off by far

Their hands had joined together
And the prayers began to rise
And the fire fighters efforts
Had never been denied

For not a life was taken nor a soul was lost
To the demon on the hill
The fire fighters had done there job
The community can rebuild

Hold on to this and stand together
Stand strong and raise your head
Build up your world so beautiful
And never say the end

Kim McRae


Thursday, August 28

Fire In My Soul
by The Gypsy Butterfly

Dear BC, Canada, and the rest of the World,

Thank you.

My family is one of the lucky ones that is waiting return to a house that is standing. On Friday night, a Kelowna fireman kicked down our blazing fence and fought like crazy with his colleagues to save our home on Curlew Drive and the next five homes on one side of ours. Our next door neighbor is not so lucky. Their home was already collapsing in flames when the firemen arrived. I think about my neighbors constantly. We've spoken to the fireman since. He has lost his own house. He apologized to us for kicking down our fence. We hugged him and said "How can we ever thank you for saving our home?" He said, "No thanks needed, I was just doing my job"...
read the rest of the letter from the Neu & Hewson Families


Kelowna Citizens
by Kim McRae

To you the air you'll breath again
To you the sun shall shine
From you the power of your love 
Is sent to God above

Ashes to ashes, you see the end
Yet ashes to ashes you'll begin again
Kelowna you'll show the world true friends 
The strength of all your love

Thank-you for showing the world what
a community is all about!

In the Heart of the People

by Kim-Frances Ouellette

In the Heart of the People
  Through adversity and triumph,
  We are strong,

In the Heart of the People
  With caring and compassion,
  We will rebuild,

In the Heart the People
  We shared tears and fears,
  There were those who had none,
  Those who had, gave all

In the Heart of the People
  We are a sight to behold,
  For we are People of the Heart.

by Dianne Tucker

What once was a valley of beauty
Now engulfed in flame
It pulls in its path destruction
Right to the abyss of hell.

Smoke and pine ash everywhere, 
A gray pall fills the sky.
Have we been left far behind
Maybe to live or die.

This year the summer burned,
Without mercy for body and soul.
It left one with no guarantee,
Would we ever return to a home.

The roads were clogged with vehicles
Trying to evacuate, 
With fear in their hearts,
Tears in their eyes, wondering about their fate.

Why did this happen, what went wrong,
Who or what is to blame.
The surrealness of the valley
Now engulfed in flame.

Firefighters 24-7, army, civilian
And all, volunteers looking to lend a hand
Or be billeted at their home.

Sirens screaming down every street, 
Hot ash a threat to all. 
Can they stop it when bombers drop it,
Retardants or the fire wall.

Every breath is hot with smoke,
Tears burn every eye,
There’s disbelief in every face.
Is this real or just a lie.

Will it rain tomorrow, will lightning strike again,
Will the winds be in our favor.
No one knows, no one can define 
The power of the fire.

Defeating the Dragon
by Gladys Schreiner

And the dragon came upon us
Drove by wind and sun and dry
Our houses fell before it
Smote by forces from on high

But the dawning brought a new day
And the chance to start anew
Though the skies were grey and smoke filled
We remembered only blue

With the passing of each hour
Hope and optimism soar
More than rising to this challenge...
We'll be better than before!

Yellow Ribbons
by Greg Murphy

There was a lightning strike on a Friday night in Okanagan Mountain Park
And it caused a spark there in the dark in Okanagan Mountain Park
And the wind it blew and the flame it grew
And to our dread the fire spread
No one could know how things would go in Okanagan Mountain Park

Then with the dawn the war was on in Okanagan Mountain Park
Choppers and planes came to douse the flames in Okanagan Mountain Park
But with lack of rain and the steep terrain
And grass so dry you could almost cry
With its own free will it roared up the hill in Okanagan Mountain Park

And the battle raged for days and days in Okanagan Mountain Park
Firefighters fought, the flames so hot, in Okanagan Mountain Park
Ambulance, army, and police
And heavy equipment, piece by piece
Worked day and night to win the fight in Okanagan Mountain Park

But Friday night the hills were alight near Okanagan Mountain Park
And the winds were strong, and the night was long, near Okanagan Mountain Park
Firefighters so brave, they tried to save
The homes so dear to the people here
But some were lost, at a terrible cost near Okanagan Mountain Park

But they did their best to save the rest near Okanagan Mountain Park
And the nation heard of the evacuation near Okanagan Mountain Park
But the community so selflessly
Came together in harmony
From the heart, they did their part near Okanagan Mountain Park

We'd like to shout that the flames are out, in Okanagan Mountain Park
But it will take some time before things are fine in Okanagan Mountain Park
But here's a cheer for all the volunteers
Who all pitched in when things were grim
Who were so strong through the battle long, near Okanagan Mountain Park

And in 2010, and all safe again, the Olympic Flame will glow
And athletes will be idolized in the winter snow
But all our heroes are right here
Gerry, it's time now for that beer
Kelowna is still standing here, north of Okanagan Mountain Park

Your crew all did their part, these yellow ribbons come from the heart



Wednesday, August 27

The Monster From Flight Level 330:
Flying One of Kelowna Flightcraft's 727s Over the Fire Night After Night and Watching the Fire Grow
by Captain Dean Newhouse

It's 7:30 Wednesday evening as I taxi the Boeing 727 towards the active runway at Vancouver International Airport. Looks like it's going to be a nice night. As my crew and I take off towards Winnipeg we can't help but notice the amount of smoke lying stratiform across the entire province. Wildfires have been in the headlines for weeks and picking them out from the air is almost like a game being so far removed from it. "There are some big ones" said the First Officer as we identified some of the more than 800 fires burning in the province at the time. As dusk fell, the view from above was more ominous...
read the rest of Captain Dean Newhouse's Observations


Tuesday, August 26

by Wayne Bruce

When I got word from a friend that my house was still standing, I was instantly overwhelmed and feelings spilled over.

And as if in the same thought , Oh my god, I am so sorry for the others that have lost it all.

Heading back into town from our overnight refuge the grief felt by my family continued throughout the trip and would not stop.

I thanked a firefighter today for saving my house. Tears welled up as I tried to convey my gratitude.

Firefighters, police, ambulance personnel, emergency workers and volunteers.

Today, I thank a police officer. Truly I am overwhelmed .


Monday, August 25

Our Thanks to You
by Carly

The fire grows,
Water flows,
Trees burn to ashes,
Firefighters dash to the flashes,
They have a thirst,
To put us first,
So here's a thanks!!


Sunday, August 24

Fiery Blaze
By DJ Streilein

White clouds turn to gray,
Darker and darker by the day,
Green hills turn ablaze,
City streets start to haze,
Mother nature starts to rage,
Placing us in a fiery cage,
Scorching the mountain side,
Our fire fighters will not abide,
The fire snake moving fast,
Torching everything that it has passed,
Lighting up the hills with fiery embers,
Threatening the city and all it’s members,
Fire fighters from east to west,
Come from all around and do there best,
Fire fighters from north to south,
Heading straight into its fiery mouth,
It burns never seeming to need a rest,
Putting our skills to the ultimate test,
To fight this dangerous fire snake,
Worst-case scenario we do not fake,
As it continues to burn at a rapid pace,
Almost as if it were a race,
As it moves across our hills,
Filling our lives with dangerous thrills,
Seeing the huge fire,
Everyone’s safety is our only desire,
We pray to all the good graces,
That we will be able to put smiles on everyone’s faces,
Our support goes out to all,
Until this fire will finally fall,
We must work together in this fight,
And set all this wrong back to right.

DJ Streilein
Age 14
August 24, 2003


Saturday, August 23

Time to Believe
by Darryl Taylor


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