By Susan Swan
Welcome Home, Clinton
On Tuesday, August 15 a line-up had formed at the checkpoint south of Clinton prior to the 4 p.m. time of the Evacuation Order being downgraded to an Alert, as residents prepared to return home.
As they entered the village they were met by a large sign proclaiming “Clinton Fire Department Welcome You Home”. Another sign by the RCMP said “Welcome Home”, with the RCMP insignia on it. Dozens of RCMP members lined the highway, waving and smiling as people drove into town.
One Clinton resident (who asked not to be identified) stated, “Seeing all those people welcoming us home brought tears to my eyes, especially when I saw the one lady dressed in red serge.”
Although many arrived home Tuesday evening, some are still arriving. Once they entered the Village, many were surprised to see that there is very little actual fire damage visible, even on the distant hills. It is apparent where the controlled burn was done up on Hart Ridge, but that is the only area that can be seen from within the village.
Many of the local businesses have resumed regular hours. These establishments have suffered tremendous loss of business this summer. Prior to the Village of Clinton going on Evacuation Order, the highways north and south of town were closed. There were no tourists going through, and difficulty getting supplies, etc. These businesses need customers now if they are to survive. For many of them, the business during the summer months is crucial to carry them through the slower winter months. Some may not survive.
In speaking with one BC Wildfire firefighter who was rotating out after having worked for two weeks straight on the fire, she said, “We feel that we are leaving the Village of Clinton in a much better position than we found it.”
Most of the visiting municipal fire departments have now left, and some of the international and national crews are also going home.
We thank each and every one of them for answering the call for help. And special thanks to the members of the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department who stayed to keep the community safe. Your commitment and dedication to your community will not be forgotten!