Some residents living in a remote community southeast of Oliver, B.C., took matters into their own hands on Wednesday evening, coming face-to-face with the volatile Nk’Mip Creek wildfire.
The 2,000-hectare blaze threatened homes along McKinney Road and Shrike Hill Road as heavy winds from the north fanned the flames to the south.
Milan Starcic, a realtor in the South Okanagan, said his clients, who purchased a home at 317 Shrike Hill Rd., last July, fled the area, believing their home would be lost to the flames.
They took shelter at Starcic’s home in Oliver, having since become good friends.
“First of all, they went through the whole mourning of losing their whole house while they were at my place, and then we discovered that their house was still there, so it was like, from this incredible sadness and loss to this great joy, to the feeling like, ‘there is no way we are letting this house go for the second time in one day,’” Starcic told Global News.
Starcic accompanied the homeowners back to the property, and the firefight began.
“We proceeded to get all the generators and put sprinklers over their house to protect it,” he said.
Timelapse of Nk’Mip Creek wildfire near Osoyoos, B.C.
“We made sure everything was fueled up. We got a flat line, which is a two-inch hose, running from this pump up out towards where the fire was coming down the hill. We spent a few hours putting out the hot spots rolling down the hill.”
Starcic said the wildfire came within 100 feet of the property.
One helicopter was bucketing the blaze in the area, he said, but no waterbombers could be seen. Only a handful of ground personnel assisted in fire suppression efforts.
“That home would have been lost without us,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a sense of abandonment, [fire crews] are just spread too thin,” Starcic noted, about the lack of resources.
Nk’Mip Creek wildfire burning away from properties, amid concerns about change in wind
“There’s too much going on here and there are not enough people.”
There are unconfirmed reports that at least one home along Shrike Hill Road was lost to the wildfire last night. The BC Wildfire Service said it is assessing potential damage and could not confirm if any structures were lost.
The south end of the massive wildfire lit up the night sky in Osoyoos on Wednesday evening as unpredictable winds fanned the flames down the mountainside.
The blaze licked the doorsteps of homes on a hillside vacation rental subdivision called The Residences at Spirit Ridge, perched above the resort on the southernmost edge of the Okanagan Valley.
The Osoyoos Fire Department and structural protection crews from the BC Wildfire Service rushed to the area to save homes.
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