Meet the two B.C. authors who stood their ground in the face of wildfire evacuations

Chris Czajkowski and Fred Reid will be at the New West library for a talk on Wednesday, Oct. 30, introducing their new book Captured by Fire: Surviving British Columbia's New Wildfire Reality

Two wilderness dwellers who defied wildfire evacuation orders to fight to save their own properties are coming to the New Westminster Public Library to speak.

Chris Czajkowski and Fred Reid will be at the library for a slide show, talk and signing for their new book, Captured by Fire: Surviving British Columbia’s New Wildfire Reality (Harbour Publishing). The event is set for Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

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A press release notes the illustrated talk is centred on the experiences described in the book, set in the devastating wildfire season of 2017. In and around the towns of 100 Mile House, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton and Williams Lake, nearly 10,000 people received instructions to evacuate immediately, and some would be unable to return to their homes for months.

But when the evacuation order came, not everyone left. Both Czajkowski and Reid stayed behind to protect their properties, animals and livelihoods. Living in remote areas, they knew that their homes would be a low priority for officials deploying firefighting resources.

Captured by Fire alternates between the two authors’ dramatic first-person accounts of their experiences throughout that summer. As lightning strikes started new fires and strong winds fanned existing ones, alerts fluctuated and even the firefighters pulled out. Both authors eventually had to decide: when is it time to go?

Czajkowski is a best-selling author who has written 11 other books about her nearly 30 years of wilderness living, including Snowshoes and Spotted Dick, A Mountain Year and Ginty’s Ghost. She lives in Kleena Kleene, B.C.

Reid is a debut author who has worked in agriculture his whole life. He spent more than 30 years farming in the Fraser Valley before moving to the Chilcotin, and he now lives in Anahim Lake, B.C.

The New Westminster Public Library is at 716 Sixth Ave. Admission is free, and all are welcome, but register ahead by calling 604-527-4665. Books will be for sale at the event.

For more on the book, see


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