Sparks ignited and quickly spread through West Kelowna one year ago on Aug. 15, 2021.
A few hours later, the Mount Law wildfire had grown to about 40 hectares large. That night, officials began knocking on doors, urging people to evacuate the area as quickly as possible.
The wildfire was later determined to be human-caused.
Area resident Ted Wright said they had a 10-minute window from when the order came down to when he and his family had to leave his home on Astoria Drive.
“(Just enough) time to hook up the trailer and that was about it,” he told Capital News at the time, while standing outside his RV in the parking lot at the West Kelowna Walmart.
“The first night, we were worried because we were watching (the fire) come down the mountain.”
By the next morning, the fire was around 800 hectares in size, burning within the City of West Kelowna’s borders close to homes in the Glenrosa area and adjacent to Highway 97C on the Okanagan Connector.
By August 16, there were evacuation orders in place for over 460 homes in West Kelowna and an evacuation alert in place for 2000 properties.
On Aug. 17, one home was lost to the blaze.
On Aug. 24, the blaze had moved down a southern slope towards a fireguard above Highway 97C.
The fire grew to 930 hectares in size on Aug. 25, as strong winds fanned the flames. Fire crews conducted planned ignitions along the Okanagan Connector, but a small spot fire in an area to the south of the highway forced crews to divert their attention to the flare-up.
As a result, abandoned buildings and fencing on properties outside the fire protection area were damaged.
At its peak, the wildfire grew to 976 hectares on Aug. 28.
Firefighters from Mexico were called in to assist with suppression efforts.
Nearly three weeks after it ignited, the Mount Law wildfire was classified as being held by BC Wildfire Service on Sept. 3. All remaining evacuation orders and alerts were lifted. The following day, the fire agency removed the blaze from its wildfire of note list.
On Sept. 15, the area restriction order for the vicinity of the wildfire was also lifted.