Fundraiser to help family devastated by Rock Creek wildfire

A fundraiser is being held in Vancouver on Saturday night to help one of the families devastated by the Rock Creek wildfire.

Kia Zahrabi and Kris Hargrave, the founders of the Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival, are organizing the event. They too were affected by the August wildfire: they were forced to cancel the Ponderosa  festival because of the rapidly spreading flames.

“I was driving in the car…and it was breaking news–fire in Rock Creek. So that was the initial shock, we were just like, uh…ok,” said Zahrabi, recounting the moments when he first learned of the fire.

It was supposed to be a weekend of good music and good company, where hundreds would camp out in Rock Creek from August 21 to 23.

However, just days before it was all set to begin, those plans went up in smoke.

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The rapidly moving wildfire was one of many that tore through the province this spring and summer. Dozens of firefighters worked to contain the blaze. At first, festival organizers put the show on hold but, eventually, they called the whole thing off.

“We were on the fairgrounds standing by the river and we were trying to make phone calls to make it work and then we said no, it’s not going to work,” said Zahrabi.

This was to be third year of the festival and organizers had high hopes for it. Instead, Zahrabi said they took a financial hit. However, it pales in comparison to what so many others lost. A total of 30 homes were destroyed.

Saturday’s concert, which will feature some bands who were set to perform at this year’s festival, will be a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. The organization will next year be building a house for the Winn family, one of the Rock Creek fire victims. Dale Winn, her husband and their sons said the kindness shown to them has been overwhelming.

“What gets us is that there’s perfect strangers that we’ve never met and everybody’s been so kind and so giving. It’s pretty amazing,” said Winn.

The goal is to raise $10,000.

“Talking to the Winn family, seeing all the devastation, we realized people out there have lost a lot more than a weekend of fun and music,” said Hargrave.

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Zahrabi  and Hargrave said after tonight, they’ll be shifting their attention back to the festival and trying to plan for next year. There’s hope, but no guarantees, that Ponderosa will return for 2016.

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