Ashcroft resident watches family homes burn to the ground

By Chad Klassen
July 8, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: July 8, 2017 - 6:30pm

ASHCROFT, B.C. — The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has expanded an evacuation order around the wildfire ravaging the Ashcroft-Cache Creek area.

The expanded order includes 86 more properties north of the community, all the way up toward the Bonaparte Indian Reserve.

Evacuees are asked to register at the emergency reception centre at McArthur Island in Kamloops.

The latest estimate on the size of Ashcroft Reserve fire remains at 4,000 hectares, though officials admit it is hard to tell due to the amount of smoke in the air.

Poor visibility is also hampering attempts to determine how many properties have been lost, though TNRD officials say it is at least several dozen.

The Trans Canada Highway is closed in the area of Cache Creek, as well as Highway 97 between Cache Creek and Clinton.

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

Angie Thorne lives in Ashcroft and is still coming to grips with what happened on Friday, watching her home and other family homes burn to the ground. 

"I took pictures of my house burning," said Thorne. "And then a few hours later, my dad's house was burning. He's just my neighbour across the way. My cousins, their house burned. My son's house he was living in, it burned as well."

Her family registered for help at the emergency centre at McArthur Island. She's glad everyone got out. 

"In the heat of the moment, it was safety first. When you're standing there in a situation like this, I looked around my house. Lots of valuables and pictures, memories. We'll make new memories."

For Sherry Fraser, whose place at the Boston Flats Trailer Park south of Ashcroft is one of few still standing, she is lucky to have her son, who lives in Kamloops on the North Shore. She's also thankful to have her dog Ryky with her. 

Meantime, the situation in Cache Creek is still active. The B.C. Wildfire Service hasn't been able to accurately map the size of the fire, although it's confirming a few structures have burned. 

Cache Creek fire chief Tom Moe says most of the village untouched aside from two hangars and a house near the airport. For Irene Kristoff, knowing her place is likely fine is great relief. 

"I've heard that everything in Cache Creek is intact," she said. "But there is still lots of smoke. We probably won't get home tonight, [but] we hope we'll go home tomorrow night or the next night."

As for Thorne, she's thankful for all the support from family, friends, and the Kamloops community. 

"It's so overwhelming," said Thorne. "I always donate and help with people in crisis. I have people that are offering to help me. I'm always such a giver and never a taker, so this is really hard to think this could happen to you."

Wildfires blaze through B.C.