PEACHLAND, B.C. - The flames were a stone's throw away from Maggie Dawson's log home, perched on the Okanagan hillside, when she decided it was time to leave.

Less than 10 minutes later, she and her dog Roy were in the garage preparing to drive away when she heard the loud buzz of a tanker overhead. She stepped outside to have a look.

"You couldn't see it (the plane) because of all the smoke, and then all of the sudden I saw this black stuff coming down," Dawson, 33, recalled Tuesday, two days after the fire forced her to flee.

"As I stepped in the garage, this red lands on our driveway. It was like a huge pile of red stuff landed on our driveway. I've never seen it before."

Dawson's house, garage, driveway and even the firewood were left covered in an even coating of red fire retardant, which was dropped throughout the area by the tankers attempting to stop the spread of a fire that was being pushed along by high winds.

Past a line of trees across the street from Dawson's house is the area worst hit by the fire, which broke out Sunday afternoon on the outskirts of the small community of Peachland, located about 380 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

It was in that section of Peachland, one of the last remaining areas still under an evacuation order Tuesday, that three homes and an abandoned house were destroyed.

The fire grew to two square kilometres and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people.

That number shrank to 258 by Tuesday morning, as cool temperatures and rain slowed the fire, which was considered 75 per cent contained.

Dawson and her husband Adrian were allowed to return Monday evening. Earlier in the day, a neighbour who snuck into the evacuation zone told them their house was OK, but covered in red fire retardant and white foam.

Her husband was spending the day Tuesday using a pressure washer to clean off the fire retardant.

Dawson noted the pressure washer was also taking off the stain from their newly finished deck, but then she interrupted herself.

"But who cares, it doesn't matter," she said. "None of it matters. It's still here. It's still standing."

Fire investigators were still attempting to determine the cause of the fire, which began next to a small park on the side of the highway on the outskirts of Peachland.

On Tuesday, evidence markers dotted the small, blackened ditch where the fire was believed to have started, as fire investigators knelt down close to examine the burnt grass and twigs on the ground.

From there, the flames quickly moved through the adjacent forest, shifting with the winds and twisting around roads and damp green lawns that offered at least some protection from the hot embers floating in the air.

Ted Ellis scrambled up a ladder to put a garden sprinkler on his roof before leaving — a last-ditch attempt to add a little more protection to his home, which he has already spent several years attempting to fireproof.

Ellis, 49, learned just how easily flames can spread the hard way. He works at the Gorman Bros. mill in West Kelowna, which, in 2009, was threatened by a fire that forced thousands from their homes.

Ellis and other workers were called in to protect the mill. He spent the night using heavy equipment to remove logs and other material away from the fire.

The mill survived, but the family who owns the facility lost two houses, which Ellis saw burn up in a matter of minutes.

"When I got out of that, one of the first things I did was change the roof on my house," said Ellis, who was allowed to return home Tuesday morning.

Ellis covered his roof with shingles that are more resistant to fire. He cut down several pine beetle-infested trees on his property. He put a line of rocks at the front of his yard to serve as a buffer from flames.

Kim and Mike Kleineberg were certain the fire was heading directly for their house, sitting on a single-home lot along a quiet street near vineyards, acreages and ranches.

"When it first started, it was coming this way, and then the wind changed direction — thank you, Lord — and then it changed to the south," said Kim Kleineberg, a high school teacher.

"It was the wind. Totally out of our hands."

The Kleinebergs were forced to stay away from their home until Tuesday morning after spending two nights in a hotel with their two boys, aged 12 and 14.

They were relieved to return to a house that was as they left it, with two cats in the yard and no fire retardant on their property.

Her 14-year-old son celebrated his birthday in a hotel room on Monday.

"Our words for him were, 'You're not going to forget this birthday any time soon,'" said Kim Kleineberg.

"We all found it very stressful. We enjoy our home. You're out of your comfort zone."

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  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    The Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire seen from Peachland, B.C., lights up the night sky Thursday, Aug. 21, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    Residents watch the approaching flames in Kelowna, B.C. on Friday Aug. 22, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    The Okanagan Mountian Park forest fire rages above homes in the Mission area of Kelowna early Saturday, Aug, 23, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    A sky crane helicopter drops a load of fire retardant on a Kettle Valley Railway Bridge in Kelwona, B.C., Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    A bridge along the Kettle Valley Railway was one of many threatened by a wild forest fire burning in the the area of Kelowna, B.C., Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    The remains of homes consumed by a wild forest fire last night sit beside a boulder at the entrance of a sub-division in the Crawford Estates area in Kelowna, B.C., Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    The doorway of home is all that is left as a wild forest fire swept through the neighbourhood in the Crawford Estates area in Kelowna, B.C., Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    Smoke clouds the air on Highway 97 South to Kelowna and surrounding areas early Saturday Aug. 23, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    Highway 27 South heading to Kelowna, B.C. is deserted early Saturday Aug. 22, 2003, as a forest fire smolders in the background.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    Smoke pours out from the trees as the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire burns above the city of Kelowna, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    A pair of burnt bicycles lay among the debris of a burnt house in the Okaview area of Kelowna, B.C., Monday, Aug. 25, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    Kelowna firefighter Shawn O'Reilly describes to the media the challenges he and other firefighters faced while battling a forest fire during a tour of the Okaview area inKelowna, B.C., on Monday, Aug. 25, 2003.

  • Kelowna Fire In 2003

    A plastic outdoor patio set and canvas tent is all that is left of a home consumed by a wild forest fire in the subur of Okaview in Kelowna, B.C., Monday, Aug. 25, 2003.



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  • A birdfeeder hangs in front of a home d

    A birdfeeder hangs in front of a home destroyed by the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker looks over item retrieved f

    Maggie Baker looks over item retrieved from her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law N

    Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law Nellie Bowman walk through the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law N

    Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law Nellie Bowman walk through the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker looks at items retrieved fr

    Maggie Baker looks at items retrieved from the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker visits the remains of her b

    Maggie Baker visits the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Frank Baker visits the remains of his br

    Frank Baker visits the remains of his brother's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A charred animal trailer sits amidst the

    A charred animal trailer sits amidst the destruction caused by the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A fireplace is all that remains of a hom

    A fireplace is all that remains of a home burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A scorched pathway leading to a home des

    A scorched pathway leading to a home destroyed by the High Park Fire, is seen June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • An item recovered from a home destroyed

    An item recovered from a home destroyed in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A home surrounded by burnt land stands u

    A home surrounded by burnt land stands undamaged after the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Dragons Eye

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kcr56rck"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kcr56rck">kcr56rck</a>:<br />Eye Of The Dragon (High Park Fire from Fort Collins Colorado)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A slurry bomber drops retardant on the High Park wildfire after it crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon and threatened homes in the Glacier View area near Livermore , Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The sun sets behind a plume of smoke from the High Park wildfire near Livermore , Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Image via <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151219758154638&set=p.10151219758154638&type=1&theater" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.

  • Image via <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3273738644328&set=p.3273738644328&type=1&theater" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.

  • High Park Wildfire

    A firefighting helicopter races to dump a load of water on the fire north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Shirley Paskett, left, and her partner Pam Creech react as they listen to a reverse 911 call telling them to evacuate their home after the High Park wildfire crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Shirley Paskett loads her stuffed bob cat into her vehicle after she and her partner were evacuated from their home after the High Park wildfire crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A firefighting aircraft is dwarfed by a plume of smoke north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Colorado National Guard, an aircraft drops a load of fire retardant slurry above the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The ammonium phosphate dropped from airplanes to slow the spread of raging wildfires can turn a pristine mountain stream into a death zone for trout and some say the retardant has never been proven effective. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • In a photo made on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, and made available on Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, firefighters from the Monument, Colo., fire department march to dinner at sunset in a base camp near the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo.(AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Colorado National Guard, an aircraft drops a load of fire retardant slurry above the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The ammonium phosphate dropped from airplanes to slow the spread of raging wildfires can turn a pristine mountain stream into a death zone for trout and some say the retardant has never been proven effective. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • Burned trees stand on the south side of Poudre Canyon where the High Park wildfire devastated the west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The stairs that led to a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wild fire are photographed during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • The stairs that led to a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wild fire are photographed during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A burnt cactus stands near a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wildfire are pictured during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Areas with other homes destroyed were not included in the tour. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Burned trees stand on the south side of Poudre Canyon where the High Park wildfire devastated the west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • In this photo made on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo.. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, Jess Geffre)

  • In this photo made on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard , Jess Geffre)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard , Jess Geffre)

  • High Park Wildfire, Slurry Bomber

    A slurry bomber files through smoke as it circles to make a drop on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

  • High Park Wildfire

    A spotter plane, top, catches up to a slurry bomber to lead it on a drop on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke rises beyond a pasture as the High Park wildfire continues to burn out of control near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns in the forest on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A helicopter lifts off after taking on water to drop on the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A helicopter lifts off after taking on water to drop on the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The sun sets amidst smoke from the High Park Fire near Bellvue, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire crowns in the trees on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns in the forest on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)