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Fundraisers launched for Monte Lake residents whose properties burned

The White Rock Creek wildfire near Monte Lake, Aug. 5, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK
August 10, 2021 - 1:00 PM

A number of online fundraisers have popped up for residents impacted by the White Rock Lake fire southeast of Kamloops.

Four GoFundMe campaigns have raised more than $110,000 between them for fire victims in the Monte Lake area that saw their property burn when the fire spread through their community last week.

One of those fundraisers has already accumulated $65,082 toward a $100,000 goal, for a 45-acre bike ranch in Monte Lake known as The Farm. The fundraiser was organized for ranch owners Ron Penney and Krys Green by their friend and professional mountain biker Matt Hunter, who said on the campaign page the pair are OK, but “lost everything” when The Farm was destroyed by wildfire.

“They had created an amazing paradise and a lot of unforgettable memories for so many people,” Hunter said.

Kyle Gryte and two others have raised $38,860 toward a $75,000 goal for his close friend Rob Bouchard who lives in Monte Lake. On that campaign page, Gryte said his friend and his wife and two young kids had their home and personal belongings burned in the fire. Gryte said the Bouchards built a fire break and used sprinklers, but they were “no match for this inferno.”

“He is also a local small business owner and a lot of his equipment was burnt as well,” Gryte said. “I have known Rob for close to 20 years and consider him a true friend. There is a small group of us right now trying to help Rob and his family out with whatever we can and I am reaching out to see if anyone else can help a family that has lost everything due to fire.” 

Gryte went on to say the Bouchards did not have insurance due to their remote location in rural Monte Lake and that Rob has been trying to help fight spot fires in the area due to a lack of resources from the BC Wildfire Service.

There has been growing criticism of the provincial government and the BC Wildfire Service with respect to the response, or lack thereof, to the fire when it was small, with many ranchers in the area willing, but not authorized, to attack the fire in its infancy.

Since it was first sparked on July 13, the fire has grown to 56,000 hectares, destroyed many structures and led to myriad evacuation alerts and orders across a massive area between Vernon and Kamloops.

Kevin Cooke has raised $5,555 for his sister, Jackie Cooke, who lives in Monte Lake. In his GoFundMe campaign page, Cooke said his sister lost her home and several animals to the wildfire when it ripped through part of town on Aug. 5. The Alberta-based brother hopes to hear from anyone who may spot his sister’s cats near the burned property.

Megan Biluk of from Langley, meanwhile, has raised $2,485 for her brother, who, along with his girlfriend, “suffered unimaginable losses” in Monte Lake due to the fire.

“My family means the world to me and I hope to help them in the best way I can. Funds will also be donated towards helping the community rebuild and help others in need,” Biluk said in her GoFundMe campaign page. “We are all in this together, please help.”

To donate to any of these campaigns visit the Go Fund Me website. Here are the links:

— This story was originally published by Kamloops This Week.

News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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