KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Residents in central British Columbia say they are in shock after watching helplessly as a fast-moving wildfire torched their homes, leaving them with little more than the clothes on their back.
Wilfred Duncan says he moved into his friend's house on the Ashcroft Indian Reserve two weeks ago, only to watch his new home burn down after a nearby fire overwhelmed the community, destroying more than 30 buildings.
Duncan is a retired forestry firefighter with 20 years of experience that includes time spent fighting wildfires on the front line, but he says he's never seen anything like the Ashcroft blaze, which is about 100 kilometres west of Kamloops
Angie Thorne is also a resident of the reserve and says she and her husband managed to save their camper trailer before watching flames engulf their home of more than two decades.
Thorne says she's grateful her family is safe and for all the help they have received from the community, wiping away tears as she spoke outside the evacuation services centre in Kamloops.
Gordon Davis, the centre's manager, says more than 500 people had registered as of Friday.
The Ashcroft fire ballooned overnight from seven to 40 square kilometres, prompting officials to order Ashcroft and nearby Cache Creek to evacuate on Friday.
A second wildfire about 200 kilometres northwest of Kamloops led to the evacuation of as many as 3,600 residents.