Thank you firefighters. Hugs and kisses.
A small group of Heritage Hills residents gathered on Thursday evening to create a massive message in the aftermath of the Christie Mountain wildfire burning near Penticton.
The wildfire is still active, and was listed at 2,122.5 hectare as of Friday, but is considered being held.
The fire consumed only one house, and the group wanted to let firefighters know exactly how thankful they were for their home-saving efforts.
The group made the sign in the dark, by flashlight, hoping it would give BC Wildfire pilots a nice surprise come Friday morning.
Heritage Hills resident Sandra Wardley, who is also a nurse, says the gratitude for front-line workers has been heartwarming, and that she wanted to give that feeling to the firefighters.
“This was a spur-of-the moment decision,” Wardley told Global News.
Wardley said the sign was created from plastic tablecloths, with wooden skewers holding them down.
She also said the group included Sue Barnes, Bonnie Bordin, Jane Rage and Jan Johnston, all long-time area residents. Wardley said another woman stepped in to help, but they didn’t get her last name.
“It felt good to think the pilots would see this flying over,” said Wardley.
“I know for me, as a front-line worker through COVID, the signs of thanks have been heartwarming and wanted to give that to these incredibly hard work fire crews.
“We are so very grateful to them all.”
On Friday, BC Wildfire said the fire remains at a Rank 1 listing, which means it’s not likely to spread beyond its boundaries.
Further, the regional district announced Thursday that the existing evacuation alert for the 319 properties in Heritage Hills was rescinded, and that the local state of emergency has been cancelled.
BC Wildfire says the fire is suspected to be lightning-caused, and that 205 firefighters and 11 helicopters were on scene Friday.