BC wildfires: More evacuations in Keremeos

Written by Javed Iqbal

Update at 7:30 p.m.: The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has issued an evacuation order for all of Olalla, BC, along Highway 3A in Electoral Area G, as well as several properties south of the village. All evacuation orders are available at the regional district’s website.

New evacuation orders have been issued as the Keremeos Creek wildfire continues to grow.

More than 400 properties are now on an evacuation order and hundreds more are on evacuation alert.

More firefighters have also joined the fight with crews attacking it from both the ground and the air.

When the wildfire was last mapped on Wednesday, it was about 4,250 hectares. It is believed to have spread even further.

The fire came frighteningly close to homes along Highway 3A Wednesday night, but crews were able to keep it from burning any structures.

Last Friday, however, a home burned to the ground.

Les Murzsa owned that home and returned for the first time Thursday to see the devastation firsthand.

“There’s nothing left. I don’t even know what some of these things are,” Murzsa said as he tried to identify his belongings in the ashes.

He pointed to an object and said, “My piano strings. I’m pretty sure.”

Les Murzsa returned to his home for the first time Thursday to see the devastation first hand.

Murzsa was one of the first to spot smoke, but he didn’t think his home would fall in the path of what has become a raging wildfire.

“Then the wind changed and all of a sudden the fire was right across the street and there was a tornado of fire at one point and my heart started racing,” he said, explaining that he only walked for about an hour, before his house caught fire. .

“There was ash raining down. The fire seemed to be approaching.”

He had no insurance and lost everything. He pegs his losses at about $400,000. An online fundraiser has been created to help him.

Although he was devastated by the losses, he said he had to put it into perspective.

“At the end of the day, you just lost a lot of wood and belongings and a couch, and it’s not that important, but a lifetime’s worth of memories in there.”

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Javed Iqbal

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