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'It was our dream home': Mother of four loses house in Tantallon wildfire

Amanda Dowding spent Thursday afternoon filling an empty home in Head of Saint Margarets Bay, N.S., with donated household items.

“She just wants everything here so we can figure out what she has and what items we have collected,” said Dowding.

Everything will go to assist Renee Hynes and her four children, who have lost everything in the wild fires.

Hynes lived in Tantallon home for eight years.

“It was our dream home,” said Hynes.

On Sunday, with the fires raging out of control, her family was forced to make a quick escape.

“Literally two of my children left with no shoes on their feet,” said Hynes.

Later in the week, Hynes was allowed to go back to pick up medication.

But when she arrived, she said out loud, “I don’t see our house for the trees.”

Fire had destroyed everything. Her family home was gone.

“There were just no words,” said Hynes.

The Hynes family is now on the receiving end of an outpouring of community kindness.

Friends are allowing her to use an empty house.

Beds, clothing, TVs, food, and all essential items are being dropped off on a daily basis.

“It is all adding up to make like a huge impact on people like my family,” said Hynes.

At the Emergency Evacuation Centre in Halifax, Ancel Langille from the Red Cross sees people every day who are isolated, living in fear, wondering when and if they'll be able to go home.

“Sleeping on a cot is not like sleeping in your own bed with your own surroundings,” said Langille. “People are getting really tired as well.”

As Hynes adapts to the new realities of her life, she has growing anxiety that these fires could spread further.

“I was behind a car, and the driver just chucked out his cigarette butt, which was still going,” said Hynes. “And it was on the side of the road and into the grass.”

She was horrified, and is encouraging people to be careful and to obey the burning ban so others won’t experience the same level of loss that her family has suffered.

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