The B.C. Wildfire Service says 13 new wildfires, including the Rock Creek fire, have been reported in the Kamloops Fire Centre since Thursday. “Let’s just band together and get through this”. “There wasn’t any time to think”.
Campers who were rushed out the provincial park Thursday evening boarded buses to evacuation centres. 3 and Hwy. 33.
“If you are evacuated from that area, call your family”, Sinclair urged.
Highway 3 was re-opened Sunday, with flag people directing traffic through the fire area, but Highway 33 remained closed.
Smoke plumes dot the mountainsides west of the community today, August 15, after the Wilsons Mountain and Testalinden Creek fires burned on a fire front one resident says seemed to run for kilometres. RCMP officers are looking for it and its operator.
Chris Duffy of Emergency Management B.C. says the unlike overland flooding, insurance can be obtained for fires. “We have nothing. We have basically the clothes on our back and some pictures and our computers”.
She said crews could not begin working on the outage until it is declared safe.
Dozens of fruit trees that served as the makeshift fire guard were scorched and she expects they’ll have to be replanted.
“I’m feeling more optimistic”. I said, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be bad. On Friday, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Steve Thomson said that some livestock was believed to have perished. Eight helicopters and five fixed wing aircraft supporting ground crews and water delivery were grounded, which had a significant impact to fire suppression efforts.
The Rock Creek wildfire is not the only fire threatening homes, 40km to the west, hundreds still on edge in Oliver.
“Literally, the tree tops were bursting like bombs and falling down on the top of our house”, Rob Hardy told media outside the Salvation Army Kelowna Community Church, which has been turned into an evacuation centre.
The wind was just hollering.
“What the wildfire people tell me is that, you can never guarantee anything with a wildfire”.
“When you see (that) the growth on these fires largely happened in their initial stages, it speaks to the fact that this truly was a wind event that came through that area and really fanned these fires and caused them to grow so quickly”, he said. “Our main concern was evacuating people from the campground and bringing them to safety as fast as possible and that was done”.
“I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about where we’re going to find the money to fight the fires”.
The Rock Creek fire broke out on Thursday afternoon and has grown exponentially for more than 25 square kilometres.
A provincial Type 1 fire origin and cause investigator is on-site; the cause is unknown.
An evacuation order has also been issued for 10 properties near another fire east of Osoyoos.
It was set off after a small plane crashed in northern Washington state. Crews responding to the blaze discovered the wreckage of the Cessna 182 along with the bodies of a pilot and passenger.
A severe weather watch is in effect across a large part of southern B.C., and residents from the Nicola Valley east to the Kootneays are bracing for high winds, large hail and torrential rains.