Holding back tears and catching her breath, Leanne Botterill makes it clear how grateful she is for the work of everyone battling wildfires in B.C.
But especially those tackling the fire above her house in East Vernon.
Botterill and her husband, Dean, live on the hillside of Galiano Road, above Pottery Road, and they, like all hillside residents of the road, were evacuated Saturday, July 10, after a wildfire broke out just above their home at around 1 p.m.
“I was working in my home and I heard helicopters but I thought they were still working on the (Clerke Road) fire from Friday night,” said Botterill on Sunday, July 11. “My neighbour phoned me and said, ‘Leanne, the hill above your home is on fire.’ I ran down the driveway to take a look and I was met by a policeman coming up the driveway and he said, ‘Yeh, you have to get out.'”
Botterill grabbed irreplaceable items like photographs, and important documents such as birth certificates and passports, from the home she and Dean and their two children have called home since 2010. Dean came home from work and he and a friend put water on the roof of their home. Then the Botterills left to stay with family members.
“I just want to say again how impressive everyone has been,” said Botterill of the firefighters, and friends and family texting her to make sure she is OK. “Everyone is doing such a great job.”
Known now as the Becker Lake Fire, helicopters with water drops and other air support have been working continuously on the blaze. Twenty-four hours later, the fire is listed as 35 hectares in size and out of control.
“There’s also heavy equipment in there as crews continue to work on the fire,” said Kamloops Wildfire Centre fire information officer Noelle Kekula.
Because of the potential danger to life and health, the District of Coldstream and the RDNO has issued an Evacuation Alert for the following areas:
District Of Coldstream
Ravine Drive; Ranchland Place; Cypress Drive; Ridgemont Drive; Rockland Drive; Upland Drive; Upper Crestview; Fairmont Place; Crestview Drive; Jeffrey Drive; Scenic Drive; Auburn Court; Hymar Place; North Side Buchanan Road (8600 block- 9800 block); Midland Place; Nickle Road; Upland Heights; Terrace Drive.
RDNO – Area C
Robin Road; Galiano (715-1294): Boss Creek Road (3965- onward); French Road; Greenwood Road; South Side Hartnell Road; Kingsview Road; Lynx Drive.
“An Evacuation Alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property should it be found necessary,” said the regional district and Coldstream in a joint release. “Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.”
Based upon a recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service, the RDNO and Coldstream rescinded the Evacuation Alert on properties in Electoral Area “B” on Kalamalka Lakeview Drive, Highridge Road, and one property on Highway 97, as well as for Clerke Road, Coldstream.
“Crews have worked tirelessly to achieve this result, and we sincerely thank them for working throughout the night and today to control such a fast-moving fire,” said Ashley Gregerson, RDNO Emergency Operations Centre information officer Saturday, July 10.
No structure damage or injuries were reported.
As of Monday, July 12, the cause of both the Becker Lake and Clerke Road fires remain unknown.