When an out-of-control wildfire threatens everything you hold dear and public officials order you to flee because, they claim, there’s nothing anyone can do − what’s your response? Do you meekly submit? Or do you call you neighbours and try to protect what’s yours? And when politicians publicly denounce you, officials callously demand your dental records so they can identify your charred remains afterwards, police threaten to take away your children and then try to starve your whole community into submission – what then?
These were the terrible choices faced last summer by the “Southsiders” of François Lake, B.C. Their decisions may surprise, or even shock you. But their determination should awe you, their courage inspire you, and the final outcome make you think twice the next time government officials demand you place your fate in their hands. In this meticulously reported exclusive, Jason Unrau brings you the epic tale of how the François Lake Southsiders had to face down not only 100-foot-high wildfire flames, but also the equally towering arrogance and indifference of the public agencies that should have been protecting and supporting them.