This year, wildfires have effected local businesses, some good and some bad.
Shannon Gibson, owner of Live, Lash, Love is facing a loss of income because of the wildfires. She runs her business at the North Point Studio with a collective of other beauty specialists.
She mentioned wildfires has been challenging for her with the unprecedented amount of cancellations from her clients.
Her beauty salon is usually booked a one month to two months in advance.
Gibson’s clients come from Smithers, Houston, Fraser Lake and sometimes even from Prince George. Apart from them, her business is supported by the local community of Burns Lake.
She said, “It’s hard to kind of fill things within short notices. We see a lot more cancellations, which obviously means loss of income for the businesses locally.”
Last month, she faced a 50 per cent cancellation from her clients pre booking which she said was the highest she has ever faced. Her usual cancellation rate for an entire month has always been within five per cent. She said, during COVID she faced similar amount of cancellations as well.
Gibson said, “Yeah, it’s kind of crazy.”
She is worried about balancing her income with the loss that has happened because of all the last minute cancellations.
Gibson said, “We’re just rolling with the punches and when the wildfire season comes to an end, we can get back into some sort of normalcy with appointments and less cancellations.”
Randi Amendt, Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Manager said, “I have spoken with several business owners and managers in Burns Lake, and everyone is so supportive of one another, helping out when needed. Many of our local businesses have gone above and beyond to help our community during these trying times. It makes me proud to be a part of such a close-knit community.”
Paul Hillard, owner of Woods N’ Water Sports and Recreation said, “Business has been good. So, we have pipeliners and tourists in town, which increases business. And, we also have firefighters in town, which also increases business.”
He said, his store has hundreds of thousands of items for camping and outdoor activities. Right now, firefighters are camping to fight the fires and they are coming in all the time to buy camping gear and socks.
Hillard said, “We’ve seen an increase.”
Mark Rogers, Manager of Kal Tire said, “Business has slowed down; a lot of the tires we usually do in July have to be done in August and September depending on when people go back to work.”
With most evacuation orders and alerts rescinded in the last week, life in Burns Lake is returning to back to normal for the time being. Wildfire season is far from being over as it will go well into September if the hot and dry weather continue.