Caroline Browning-Kauffman is one of those who was forced to leave her home because of the wildfire on the city’s doorstep.
She shared that journey she made with her husband, Chris Kauffman, and friend Bridget Croitor.
They left Yellowknife early on Aug. 18 and drove straight to Peace River, Alta., where they spent the night at a hotel. The following day, they continued their journey to Red Deer, arriving that afternoon.
“Our intended destination was Red Deer,” Browning-Kauffman explained. “We know a couple of people in town and it was just somewhere that was familiar.”
As an employee with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, Browning-Kauffman said that despite the challenges, she and other employees were still expected to work remotely.
Browning-Kauffman expressed her gratitude for the hospitality they’ve received.
“Red Deer has been incredibly generous. They’ve been very kind, very welcoming, very sympathetic to what’s happening,” she said.
The journey wasn’t without its challenges, she added.
“It was very long. It was very tiring,” Browning-Kauffman said. “The emotional toll that driving that distance takes, that takes a toll on your human spirit.”
Despite this, she remains optimistic, advising others in similar situations to make the best of it.
As for their property back home, Browning-Kauffman confessed that there is a degree of nervousness.
“Everyone is nervous about their property,” she said.
“We just hope for the best and we know that there’s some incredible people defending our homes right now,” she added.
Despite the circumstances, Browning-Kauffman and her husband are finding ways to enjoy their time in Red Deer. Browning-Kauffman has been able to take her dog for walks, even encountering deer on one of her walks.
“You have to find the silver linings in those dark clouds,” she said.
Browning-Kauffman was expressing faith in the resilience of Yellowknife, even after all that’s happened.
“We have to stick together and we’re strong. Yellowknife is strong. We’ll get through this,” she said.