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Spring Point folk reach out to help rural Slave Lake

The Spring Point Community Society will send an early Christmas present to MD of Slave Lake residents whose homes were destroyed earlier this year in a wild fire.
The society wants to raise $2,800 by Dec. 17 so it can send a $50 gift certificate in a Christmas card to each of the 56 rural families who were in the path of the fire.
“It’s an effort of the entire Spring Point community,” society president Pat Ness said.
The massive wild fire that caused $700-million in damage in May in the Town of Slave Lake and district was deliberately set.
The May 15 wildfire, which burned about 4,700 hectares and was officially extinguished July 28, forced thousands to flee Slave Lake and destroyed about 400 homes and businesses.
Fifty-six families in the MD of Slave Lake lost their homes and other outbuildings to the wild fire.
Spring Point residents who experienced the devastation of the Granum fire Dec. 14, 1997 can relate to the rural Slave Lake residents.
The Granum fire, which started in the Porcupine Hills, burned close to 70,000 acres of land, killed 4,000 head of livestock, destroyed 6,000 tonnes of hay and burned five homes. Additionally, about 1,000 kilometres of fencing had to be repaired or replaced.
The recovery effort was supported by people from far beyond Fort Macleod and district.
“We got so much help from the north, well, from all over,” Ness said. “From as far away as Halifax.”
People gave money, and bales of hay and straw as well as materials needed for rebuilding including fence posts, wire and staples.
They also gave of their time.
Country singer Ian Tyson staged fund-raising concerts at the Empress Theatre.
A Scorched Earth Benefit Concert was organized in Fort Macleod.
A group of Mennonites came in the summer and moved from ranch to ranch, putting in fence posts. A group of 4-Hers from Redcliff helped put in staples.
“All summer long we had people coming to help us,” Ness said.
Cash donations came from as far away as Vancouver and Halifax.
Slave Lake residents have received plenty of support since the fire, but there is more to be done.
The Spring Point Community Society suspects that much of the support has gone to residents of the Town of Slave Lake, and that rural residents could use some help.
The society plans to buy gift cards from businesses such as Canadian Tire that operate in Slave Lake.
Donations can be sent to The Spring Point Community Society, P.O. Box 1204, Fort Macleod, T0L 0Z0.
The deadline for donations is Saturday, Dec. 17 so the cards can arrive at the Slave Lake homes in time for Christmas
For information contact Spring Point Community Society president Patty Ness at 403-553-2625 or secretary Diana Nadeau at 403-553-2281.