·  by Marty Gibbons, USW Local 1-417 and Kyle Wolff, USW Local 7619

USW Cares: Kamloops Steelworkers Act Swiftly to Help B.C. Wildfires Evacuees

As most people are aware, the province of British Columbia has suffered through a prolonged period of hot weather with little to no rain. This has resulted in an extreme forest fire hazard across the entire province.

As of writing this more than 200 fires are actively being fought across B.C. The Cariboo Region has been hardest hit due to a number of lightning strikes combined with tinder dry forests.

Almost every community in the Cariboo Region is under either an evacuation alert or an evacuation order. At this point more than 14,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to rapidly advancing forest fires.

The USW represents a number of workplaces throughout the Cariboo area. Many of our USW brothers and sisters have been forced to evacuate and regrettably, in a number of locations USW families have had their homes destroyed by fires.

Just like everyone else, USW locals and members want to do all we can to support the affected communities our members live in. USW Locals 7619 (Highland Valley) and 1-417 (Kamloops and area) have once again joined forces to assist our communities during crisis.

On July 8, 2017 brother Kyle Wolff organized a BBQ in Kamloops to welcome and serve lunch for evacuees at the Kamloops Evacuation Reception Centre.

On July 10, 2017 responding to a request from Steelworker and Vice President of the Ashcroft Legions Darrin Curran, the two locals mobilized on short notice to serve between 400-500 meals to first responders and residents in the community of Ashcroft. The two locals have collectively donated over $2,500 in supplies in addition to countless hours volunteering making these two events happen.

We would like to thank the following USW activists for their service to the communities and making these events possible:

USW Local 7619; Susan, Cecelia, Vivian, Jim McClean and family, James and Unice Lowey, Joe Petty, Ryan Hagan, Jim McCarthy, Travis and Trish Hilson, Amber Paulson, Amanda King and son, Luke Ghostkeeper, Jason Kyle Arnold, Dave Thurber and Gary Winslow.

USW Local 1-417; Darrin Curran, Krystal Gibbons, Tara Cavanagh, Dale Niessen, Meredith Desmarais, Sara May and Jeffery Campbell, as well as USW District staff.

It appears the fire crisis in B.C. is going to continue to get worse before it gets better. Any local union wishing to support our continued assistance of these comunitees can contact either Kyle Wolff of USW Local 7619 or Marty Gibbons of USW Local 1-417.


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