KAMLOOPS — Last year, when Fort McMurray was on fire, I said there was no more divisive city in Canada.
There hasn't been for decades now.
As the capital of the oil sands, Fort McMurray is where many, many Kamloops residents have gone to finance their dream of living in BC.
And it's also the symbol that some people say stands for the all things wrong with capitalism: the raping of the land for profit, with no regard for the environment or the bigger picture.
That profit motive has led to some troubling social side effects in Fort McMurray, and for those who have never visited, that might be their impression of the city.
It's not exactly a tourist mecca, so it's hard to develop a more rounded impression than that: oil money, trucks and drugs.
A year ago, Fort Mac was on fire.
The wildfire disaster that befell the city, nicknamed 'The Beast,' was worse by degrees than what is happening in BC right now.
At least for now, and we can only hope our current situation doesn't reach similar levels.
For most, Fort Mac became it's own sympathetic cause, and rightly so.
These were people's lives, after all, and that value should overrule all ideologies.
If the character of Fort McMurray wasn't evident last year, it certainly became evident this week, as the BC wildfire season shows signs of 2003 all over again.
The first community to jump in to offer its support?
Wasn't even close.
Maybe this will blow away some of those negative impressions and connotations associated with Fort McMurray.
It's a city populated, for the most part, with really good people, just like most communities in this great country of ours.
They have a desire to do the right thing, and while sometimes that desire is hard to put into action, other times it's pretty obvious what needs to be done.
We are extremely grateful not only for their tangible help, but for modeling a resilient spirit that we will need to emulate, maybe even for the rest of this summer.