MPW.72 / 2020 Crisis and Belonging by Wesley Lapointe
Photographer
Wesley Lapointe
Team Cliff & Vi

Story Summary

As the Holiday Farm Fire tore through the Mackenzie River Valley, introvert and animal lover Greg Silva found belonging in the community of people who worked around the clock to provide care for every last neighbor and pet. Less than three weeks later, the immediate threat to homes and lives is waning. Now, Greg wonders if the generous responders and volunteers will maintain their newfound commitments to each other once it passes.

“Now that it’s winding down, and all these wonderful people that you’ve met, all these people that you’ve worked with, all these experiences that you’ve had, and then pretty soon it’s over and everyone goes their own way again,” he said. “But I think that in this situation, something has been birthed out of this that I don’t think they have the scope of imagination to fathom right now.”

The slightest smoky scent or warm breeze still triggers fears of evacuating. All of Greg’s belongings remain packed in totes, ready to be tossed in a moment’s notice into the truck. This includes his chickens, goats, and cats.

“It’s silly that I don’t wanna unpack it.” he said. “Cause we haven’t burned here, it’s still volatile in my mind.”