Canada

South Okanagan couple loses home in Nk’Mip Creek wildfire, shares harrowing escape

A South Okanagan couple is reeling after losing their home to the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire, near Oliver.

“I feel lost. This was everything to me,” said Rick Young, a now-displaced South Okanagan resident.

Read more: Video posted by B.C. fire department shows how quickly a cigarette can start a wildfire

Young and Rae Hall had to leave their home with the wildfire roaring towards them.

“It was incredibly quick. Faster than I would have ever expected for (the fire) to go,” said Young.

“(The fire) wasn’t there. And then all of a sudden, it just came around the corner and flames jumped out. And that’s when we dropped everything instantly.”

Read more: B.C. wildfire Wednesday: Officials eye ‘mixed bag’ in weather forecast

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The couple had no notice of the incoming fire, thinking it was still a ways away from their home on a backcountry road between Osoyoos and Oliver.

Within minutes, the fire completely engulfed the entire area where their home was built.

“I had no time to pack anything, had no notice. So I grabbed the dog and my purse and left,” said Rae Hall.

“And as I was leaving, that’s when Rick arrived and tried to save what he could save.”

Wildfire service issues strong warning to those who defy evacuation orders

Young tried to save his home. He started his water pump and started to douse the property.

Unfortunately, it was too little, too late as the wildfire was spreading fast.

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“It was a matter of like five minutes from when I saw the flames over there. I thought (I had time) to do something, until (my) stuff was on fire,” said Young.

The couple has lived in their home for the last two years.

Young is a retired carpenter, who does odd jobs for others in the community. His workshop was also destroyed along with all of his possessions.

“I built most of the stuff in my home, with my own hands,” Young said.

Joe Louie, the land owner, was also on site when his campground was ablaze.

“It was moving probably about 50 yards every 10 seconds,” said Louie.

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“It was moving fast. We could see the trees candling and the fire jumping.”

The couple said they will rebuild their home, although it will be a slow process cleaning up the area.

Not only was most of the property on the land destroyed by the fire, five animals were lost as well, four pigs and one rooster.

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