Graham McDougall shared this photo of the fire in Anstey Hunakwa Provincial Park on July 12 on social media. (Graham McDougall/Facebook photo)

Graham McDougall shared this photo of the fire in Anstey Hunakwa Provincial Park on July 12 on social media. (Graham McDougall/Facebook photo)

“It exploded last night”: Seymour Arm resident on wildfire

First responder looking forward to sound of BC Wildfire Service helicopters

Bruce Salamandyk looks forward to hearing the sound of a helicopter or airplane – something to indicate action on a wildfire that has prompted an evacuation alert for Seymour Arm.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) issued the evacuation alert at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14. According to a CSRD media release, the alert was prompted by a fire at Hunakwa Lake, which was said to be growing and could become dangerous.

Salamandyk, a resident of Seymour Arm, said he and his wife Paula, both members of the Seymour Arm First Responders, have their evacuation bags packed and ready.

“I feel pretty safe though,” said Salamandyk. “It would be nice if they sent some choppers up. But there’s no extra people. I’ve talked to forestry and stuff and there’s no resources.”

With the heavy smoke in Seymour Arm, Salamandyk said he couldn’t seen any indication of the Hunakwa Lake fire heading his way. But he said the fire had grown substantially overnight.

“It exploded last night. It went from 50 acres to 500,” said Salamandyk.

As of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the fire was listed at 230 hectares (568 acres) and out of control.

Read more: Wildfire prompts evacuation alert for Seymour Arm

Read more: Do you know your B.C. wildfire terminology?

With the alert in effect, the CSRD is encouraging Seymour Arm residents have grab-and-go-bags at the ready and to self-register with Emergency Support Services at https://ess.gov.bc.ca/, in case an evacuation order is required.

The CSRD also encouraging non-residents in Seymour Arm to consider leaving. Salamandyk, who operates Silver Beach RV Park in Seymour Arm, said his park is technically “full,” but people either haven’t arrived or aren’t hanging around.

“They’ve all gone home; the smoke is too heavy to enjoy the beach too much,” said Salamandyk.

The evacuation alert is posted on the CSRD website at csrd.bc.ca. Additional information will be available on the CSRD wesbsite and the Shuswap Emergency Program’s (SEP) webpage at www.shuswapemergency.ca, as well as on the SEP and CSRD Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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B.C. Wildfires 2021