A massive wildfire in British Columbia has left residents in the Shuswap Lake area devastated as their homes were destroyed and they were forced to evacuate. The fire, described as one of the most explosive in recent history, rapidly spread down the mountainside, prompting immediate evacuation measures.
Kelly Selman, a resident in the affected area, recounted the terrifying experience of hearing the fire roar like a jet plane as she and her family hurriedly packed up their belongings. They managed to evacuate with their 10 goats, 11 chickens, four dogs, and a few personal items. Selman described the scene as leaving a war zone.
The fire, a combination of two fast-moving fires near Shuswap Lake, merged and quickly advanced through nearby communities, resulting in the destruction of homes and displacement of thousands of people. Selman and her family had to take back roads since the main highway bridge was closed. They sought refuge in a cabin provided by a helpful local.
According to Forrest Tower, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service, the fire exhibited extremely intense behavior, moving as much as 20 kilometers in under 12 hours. Tower stated that there are very few wildfires that have done what this particular fire did.
In the aftermath of the fire, Selman described witnessing spot fires throughout the area and the complete destruction of a local store. Despite the devastation, Selman and her husband returned to the evacuation zone to check on their home and inform others about the situation. Tower mentioned that limited visibility hindered initial firefighting efforts.
The Shuswap Lake community is now left grappling with the aftermath of this catastrophic wildfire, while officials work to assess the damages and support those affected by the disaster.