Volunteer recalls the trauma of being evacuated

Wanda Cline recalls being evacuated while living in Snow Lake, Manitoba

Wanda Kline helps out with donations that started to come into Rimbey last Friday. Since the beginning of the wildfire at Fort McMurray donations quadrupled in size

By Treena Mielke

It was 36 years ago, but Wanda Cline remembers it well.

She was living in Snow Lake, Manitoba and seven and a half months pregnant when the call came to evacuate the town because of a spreading fire. Six years later, she was again forced to evacuate because of a fire.

Today Cline is helping out as a volunteer at the arena where loads of clothes, food and supplies keep coming in to help the victims of the wildfire at Fort McMurray.

She says reports of the fire and the damage, devastation and destruction it caused have brought back memories.

She wants to do what she can to help.

“It’s terrifying,” she said. “You feel number inside, you’re in shock. It’s a grief, a loss, a bereavement.”

Cline recalls being evacuated by helicopter and being put up in a basement suite for four days. She said the kindness she experienced was wonderful and something she will always remember.

“People pull together at a time like that,” she said.

While watching the fire rip through Fort McMurray is a grim reminder of what she and her family went through so many years ago, Cline realizes the far-reaching effects of this fire will be around for a long time.

“It is devastating,” she said. “They won’t be going home in four days,” she said.