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Firehall, other structures believed lost to wildfire in North Shuswap

‘It’s been absolutely the most devastating day of wildfire in the Shuswap’s history.’

Structures in the North Shuswap are believed to have been lost to the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire.

A sombre Derek Sutherland, director of the Shuswap Emergency Program’s (SEP) Emergency Operations Centre, confirmed Friday night, Aug. 18, that the fire hall in Scotch Creek had burned down. He said the Squilax gas station is also believed to have burned down. Sutherland hasn’t been able to confirm the loss of the gas station or other structures, but said, “It’s been absolutely the most devastating day of wildfire in the Shuswap’s history.”

Salmon Arm resident Brandi Butts said her husband is in the process of evacuating firefighters from the area via school bus. She said the community has been reporting the loss of the fire hall and other structures in and around Scotch Creek.

“One firefighter watched his house burn down,” said Butts.

Exhausted Electoral Area F director Jay Simpson said he hasn’t seen what’s happened in Scotch Creek but he had heard the school caught fire. Simpson said he was busy using his boat to evacuate people from Scotch Creek.

“All I could hear were booms, which I assume were propane tanks,” said Simpson. “The fire went up and also razed the bench, the agriculture areas above Celista.

“I hear rumours, I really don’t know any facts… we moved firefighters from Scotch Creek to Magna Bay by water because they couldn’t get there by road.”

Simpson wasn’t optimistic about what Saturday morning will reveal. Sutherland said he and the emergency program is going to try and get some “situational awareness.”

“That’s going to be the focus – try to do some rapid damage assessments,” said Sutherland. “And then we’re going to try to wrap our heads around this whole situation because it’s a lot and it’s been a really, really tough day.”

Read more: Highway 1 closed near Chase due to wildfire

Read more: UPDATE: North Shuswap evacuation order expanded, order issued for Turtle Valley
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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