"Photo Essay: What It’s Like To Flee A Wildfire In B.C."

"As someone who has long frequented burning landscapes to put out fires, I hadn’t ever feared for my safety before. That changed the day two explosive blazes converged in the province’s Shuswap region".

"My partner Inanna Sokil and I are spending our summer fighting wildfires. It’s our sixth season working together, but this one — Canada’s worst wildfire season ever — has been different.

Our job is to save homes and other buildings threatened by wildfires. When we got to the Adam’s Lake fire complex, near Chase, B.C., our supervisor summed up the situation: we were going to have to fit five days worth of work into one.

We spent two days setting up sprinkler systems, but there wasn’t enough time. The Lower East Adams Lake wildfire quickly took a turn for the worse on the afternoon of Aug. 18. Winds ramped up and switched directions towards Scotch Creek. We were redeployed there at 2 p.m. but, soon after, the fire cut off our highway escape routes in both directions.

Extreme southerly winds and tinder dry conditions caused the wildfire to merge with another out-of-control wildfire — the Bush Creek Fire — spreading 20 kilometres in less than 12 hours, one of the fastest wildfire runs in B.C. history.

We feared for our safety."

Mike Graeme reports for The Narwhal August 24, 2023.

Source: The Narwhal, 08/31/2023