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Charity raises funds for fire victims

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The final bill has yet to come in for the forest fires that ravaged B.C.’s Interior last month, but at least 240 homes were destroyed, and the province spent close to half a billion dollars battling hundreds of blazes.

No one knows what the costs are to the victims, including the tens of thousands of people who were evacuated from their homes and lost work during the state of emergency.

Whistler has already come to the aid of some people from the Interior, with Tourism Whistler offering free accommodation to people who were displaced by the fires.

Now one local is going one step farther, setting up a fundraiser for the Red Cross B.C. Forest Fire Relief Fund.

Melanie Trotto, a Whistler-Blackcomb employee, created a Houses of Hope fundraiser that will run until Oct. 17. Together with the Whistler-Blackcomb Sign Shop, Trotto created signs in the shape of houses that will be displayed during the Turkey Sale weekend, Oct. 10-12, and which are currently placed at other Whistler-Blackcomb locations.

For $2, people can also purchase paper bricks, on which they are encouraged to write notes of support to fire victims. The bricks will be attached to the houses, and sent to the Fire Relief Fund.

"It made me feel very uncomfortable to know how close we were to the fires in the Interior, and to know that the same thing could have been happening to our community," said Trotto. "It made me want to do something to help the people in these communities, as I would like to think they would do for us if the situations were reversed."

To add your brick to the Houses of Hope, visit the Whistler-Blackcomb administration offices at 4545 Blackcomb Way, or Guest Relations at the base of the Whistler Village Gondola.

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