A Squamish family's home was narrowly saved from a wildfire, but others weren't so lucky
VANCOUVER -- Alicia Myton and Todd Mumford can’t believe their house is still standing.
“The fire crews did a fantastic job,” said Myton.
She and her husband own and operate Glacier farm with a few friends. All were stunned Wednesday when they smelled smoke.
Myton and Mumford are lucky: at least three other houses burned down, according to the District of Squamish-Lillooet.
Wildfire crews have battled the wildfire since Thursday, which grew to about two square kilometres in size and prompted an evacuation alert for residents in the community of Paradise Valley.
The District of Squamish rescinded that alert Sunday, although over 100 people had to leave their homes because of the fire. While the fire was previously described as being out of contol, that status has changed to "being held."
Mumford described the fast-moving conditions they dealt with as the fire spread out of control: “We started hosing whatever we could down,” he said.
“But next thing you know, I’m sitting there trying to get some spot fires out with the hoses, and you look behind the spot fires and there's just a wall of fire.”
The group began racing around the house grabbing whatever they could. Myton’s cat had just had some kittens, so they scooped up all the cats and even fit two goats in the back of a Toyota Corolla.
“It was hot, there were ashes flying all over the place, so there was nothing that we could have done,” said Myton.
They had recently moved in, having just finished renovations on their home six weeks ago.
As the group grabbed whatever they could carry, first responders showed up telling them it was time to go.
“When I left here it was just black smoke. All I could see was the black smoke you could feel the heat, it was coming really fast at you. I tried to stay as long as I could,” said Mumford.
Thanks to the efforts by fire crews, their home was saved, although the car port burned to the ground. The only damage to the house is to some windows and siding.
“The fire marshals did say that this was their victory," Mumford said. "So we’re just so grateful to everybody that was involved to help save our home.”
Some of Myton and Mumford neighbours lost their homes did not survive, and they have also heard that a local campground burned to the ground.
The District of Squamish-Lillooet does not have a full accounting of how many buildings were damaged or destroyed but tell CTV News it’s more than three.
There are 126 evacuees staying in hotels in Squamish.
The wildfire comes as the entire world is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s of course not something that we needed during a pandemic response,” said Squamish Mayor, Karen Elliott.
“Obviously they have concerns of how do I be evacuated and maintain social distancing,” she said, so they’ve adjusted their usual systems when dealing with a wildfire.
District staff have been checking up with evacuees over the phone instead of in person, and have given hotels advance notice so they can prepare to receive people in accordance with physical distancing measures.
“We made sure there were hotels available for each household so we did not put them in a crowded room,” Elliott said.
BC Wildfire Service said the conditions have been favourable for crews and that the fire is now 50 percent contained.