Wildfire Update (23 08 28)

A message from Executive Director Michael Shapcott, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023

Sorrento Centre remains under evacuation alert as the Bush Creek East wildfire continues to burn out-of-control near our main campus and farm. Helicopters scoop water from the Shuswap (just north of our farm) and drop it on the fire (less than a kilometre south).

Almost 200 guests, most of our staff and many of our neighbours were evacuated on Aug. 18 as the wildfire raced down from North Shuswap, covering more than 20k in less than 12 hours. We were allowed to return on Aug. 26, and the priority was for staff to ensure their homes were safe and healthy.

On Monday, our maintenance, housekeeping, office and farm staff began a detailed assessment of the impact of the wildfire, heavy smoke, power outage and other issues on our lands and buildings. Once we have assessed the damage, we can plan for a re-opening.

The evacuation alert remains in place for Sorrento, which means we must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. We won’t be able to welcome guests back to our beloved Centre until it is safe to do so, and that won’t happen until the evacuation alert is lifted.

All our neighbours in the South and North Shuswap are still reeling from the impact of the volatile wildfire. Fortunately, no lives have been reported as lost, but there is plenty of structural damage – and the assessment has only just begun.

We are starting to count the cost of the wildfire to our Centre, even though we don’t know when the all-clear will be sounded and how much damage has been done. Already, a number of guests and friends have sent financial support so we can provide immediate assistance to our staff team and our neighbours, as well as support the recovery and re-building.

You can make an on-line donation (or time or recurring) or you can send a cheque to the Sorrento Centre, 1159 Passchendaele Road, Box 99, Sorrento, BC, V0E 2W0. After being shut down for a week, the Canada Post station in our neighbourhood has re-opened.

A short prayer for these uncertain times for our Centre:

We recall our day yesterday,
May we learn, may we love, may we live on.
We make room for the unexpected,
May we find wisdom and life in the unexpected.
Help us to embrace possibility, respond graciously to disappointment and hold tenderly those we encounter.
Help us be fully present to this time.


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