(Files by Dione Wearmouth-MyPGNow)
It was a close call for Maddi Goodman, a young woman who fled Kamloops last week due to the severe wildfires burning in the area.
On Thursday night around 9:30, Goodman was sitting on her apartment balcony watching the lightning storm when she noticed thick clouds of back smoke billowing from behind the building.
“It quickly escalated to a huge cloud of smoke and then we could start seeing the flames from our apartment building,” she explained, “it was surreal it felt like an Apocolypse with all the black smoke.”
The flames were only a few kilometres away from the building, effectively causing an evacuation order for the surrounding communities by the name of Valleyview and Juniper.
Residents of her building soon started calmly packing up and heading out of the building, according to Goodman.
“Before the evacuation was called I decided to leave because the closest place I could go was Invermere and that was already a five and a half-hour drive,” she added.
At 10 pm, she embarked on her drive to Invermere and didn’t get to her destination until about 5 am.
Goodman has only been living in Kamloops for a few months, and grew up in Alberta, because of this she says she was quite unfamiliar with wildfires.
“Once I started seeing the red it was a bit of a panic for me because I’ve never had to experience forest fires or wildfires so close to me,” she explained.
A few hours into her drive she found out that her building was not being evacuated like many others were, and she has since returned home to Kamloops safely.
The BC Wildfire Service has identified over 60 active wildfires within Kamloops Fire Centre, 5 of which are considered wildfires of note that are either highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.
Currently, there are around 40 wildfires blazing across the Prince George Fire Centre, 3 of which are considered ‘of note’.