There is still no confirmation if the Rock Creek wildfire has claimed buildings and homes.
Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Alan Stanley says crews are still trying to get a sense of the damage on the ground.
As for what we know right now:
“Not much. Our ground crews are still doing field assessments and doing reconnaissance and we don’t have any numbers at this point.”
Stanley says they are also still working to confirm everyone got out of the danger zone safely.
“We are doing some ground reconnaissance to try and confirm that everybody is safe. We do not have any information that anyone has been harmed.”
Stanley says people camping in Kettle River Provincial Park fled with, in many cases, just the clothes on their back.
“There was a lot of people in the campsite at the Kettle River Provincial Park and the best information we have got is that everybody was out safe. A lot of them came out on foot. We had to send some buses in and the local ATV club helped out getting those folks out of the danger zone.”
Fire growing at a staggering rate
What was four hectares yesterday afternoon is now burning an estimated 2500 hectares, and still raging out of control.
Fire information officer Fanny Bernard says there is a reason the fire is growing at an exponential rate.
“That area has been under a sustained drought since the spring. A large portion of the Southern part of the Southeast Fire Centre is in extreme fire danger rating. As we have seen with the rapid growth of this fire, it is creating conditions where anything that ignites spreads quickly, burns deep, and poses significant suppression issues or crews.”
On social media there is at least one family tweeting a picture of the remains of their home after the flames torched it.
Other evacuees are painting a harrowing picture telling stories of fleeing their homes with flames roaring behind them and in some cases people who fled with just enough time to throw open the gates for cows, horses, and other livestock so they had a fighting chance to survive the fire.
More tales of escape
John Marrett and his family were hiking through the area after abandoning their truck and motorhome when a big rig with the Midway fire crew took in his family.
“Whatever they could do… we had to throw some of their tools onto the side of the road to get more people into the truck and the guy was like ‘Yep, just do it’, and they took us into Rock Creek where we were able to re-group and figure out our next plan… but it was pretty sketchy going there for a while.”
“We left the cars in the campsite and walked away from that with cell phones and wallets and made a dash for it. In the back of your mind you’re just hoping the wind stays the way it’s going and you hope the fire doesn’t up that side.”
Justice McGonigle works in Osoyoos, but couldn’t get back to her boys in Rock Creek when the fire broke out.
Neighbours came to the rescue, picking up the boys and the family dogs
“They were evacuated to Midway, and everyone in Midway has been really great. They have been feeding evacuees and taking care of them, housing them.”
Those neighbours also unlocked the gates so the horses could make a run for safety.
Update: The Red Cross has set up a Family Reunification phone number in place for those affected by the fire. Call 1-888-350-6070
BC Wildfire now confirms 'several structures' lost in different areas of Rock Creek wildfire, including homes pic.twitter.com/erqkYBVujn— Miguel Ramos (@MiguelRamosTV) August 14, 2015