Darrell Pilgrim, back row, far right, was helping out fire evacuees in Prince George this week.

Darrell Pilgrim, back row, far right, was helping out fire evacuees in Prince George this week.

Salvation Army also on fire’s front lines

Maple Ridge shelter manager helping in Prince George

When you’re out of your home, maybe lost your job, your life’s work – or maybe you haven’t – you’re just not sure, the stress can add up.

People from Princeton to Cache Creek to Williams Lake, who’ve fled this summer’s forest fires are facing those questions as wildfires rip through and disrupt lives.

Helping them out are what the Salvation Army calls its “emotional support teams.” Darrell Pilgrim, with the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries, is on one of those teams in Prince George.

He’s spent the last week meeting people at the evacuation centre at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, “just helping people get through the difficulty of it all.”

The people he’s met are worried about their homes, but mostly are remaining composed. “We’re very encouraged by the resiliency of the people.

“A lot of evacuees are hoping to go home soon.”

Many have come from the south, along Hwy. 97, from the Williams Lake area which was evacuated July 15.

“I’ve heard of a lot of places that I’ve never heard of before.”

Pilgrim says the people of Prince George are helping a lot, both in the way they’re helping evacuees and how they’re greeting volunteers. “They’re treating us like gold. Prince George has stood up wonderfully.”

The Salvation Army also has 10 of its 16 emergency disaster response vehicles providing hot food to evacuees and firefighters at various locations around the province. The one based in Maple Ridge remains on stand by.

“We just do what we’re called to do,” said Pilgrim.