Over 200 wildfires had forced about 14,000 people to flee their homes in British Columbia as of Monday afternoon, including friends and family of Taber, Alta. resident Melissa Laukkanen.
“It’s been pretty frantic trying to figure out where everyone is at and where they are,” she said.
Laukkanen was born in 100 Mile House, B.C. – which was put under an evacuation order over the weekend – and raised in Lac la Hache, B.C. She moved to southern Alberta 12 years ago with her mom and sister. Everyone else is back home, along with her heart.
“It’s hard because no matter where you’re from or what you’ve been through… wherever you’re from… it shapes you. It makes you who you are,” Laukkanen said.
Helplessly watching the wildfires spread, Laukkanen has been struggling to connect with loved ones, wishing there was a way to help.
“To see everyone is distress and not be able to do anything… I think the best word to describe it is ‘lost.'”
B.C. declared a state of emergency on Friday after almost 140 new fires broke out. By Monday, crews were battling about 218 blazes.
Laukkanen said the situation is starting to remind her of the Fort McMurray wildfire disaster last year.
“I think it’s probably the same feeling I had when they had the big fires fires up north. I felt for them and it was hard to see so many people displaced,” she said.
“It’s weird to see your hometown be on fire.”
Watch below: Videos from Global News’ ongoing coverage of the 2017 B.C. wildfires.
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