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Spot fire startles B.C. wildfire victims in rental home

Family already lost their home to wildfire in August, then woken to spot fire Thursday

It wasn’t the Welcome Wagon banging on Alycia Butler’s door.

Not at 1 a.m.

Butler – who, along with her partner, Dave, and their son Hemingway, lost their North Shuswap home in the Bush Creek East wildfire a few weeks earlier – was alerted to a spot fire near their Scotch Creek rental home in the early hours of Thursday, Sept. 14. She and her family had only moved into the home less than a week earlier.

“Kristy Pollock is my friend, who also lost her home in Celista, and she came banging on my door at 1 a.m.,” said Butler. “Her daughter happened to let their cat outside and noticed the fire on the hillside. They’re also renting a house in Scotch Creek.”

The fire was on the slope on Squilax-Anglemont Road at Butters Road, just above were the old Scotch Creek Pub used to be, and very close to where a new home is being built. A spot fire flared up on the spot Wednesday morning with locals helping to extinguish it.

It’s believed a touch of wind late Wednesday/early Thursday caused the fire to flare up once more.

Pollock and Butler both called 911, along with local Scotch Creek firefighters Corey Cyr and Dave Van Oirschot. Both men had stayed behind in August to fight the wildfire.

“They were the first two on the scene, and it was about 40 minutes later when three fire trucks showed up,” said Butler. “Then we started calling friends who we know stayed behind.”

The fire was extinguished again, save for some smouldering smoke Butler could see around lunch time on Thursday.

“The firefighters were so close to our place we could hear them talking, that’s how close it was,” said Butler. “They had headlights from the trucks and spotlights helping them out at 3 a.m.”

Butler and her family hadn’t unpacked their emergency bags since evacuating from their Disdero Road home Aug. 18, and don’t plan to unpack them for the next while.

“This (spot fires) is going to go for a while,” she said. “It’s going to be an uneasy couple of nights. Helicopters were blazing through the area Wednesday. There was a spot fire beside where my house once stood.

“You start to wonder if we can just catch a break.”

READ MORE: North Shuswap family shares story of wildfire home loss

READ MORE: 50 properties without water at Killiney Beach as emergency repair takes place

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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