Firefighters' warm welcome sweetens homecoming for B.C. wildfire evacuee

·3 min read
Logan Lake resident Crystal Mavor, right, and her husband were on the road travelling across the Thompson-Nicola region for a week after their entire family had to leave home under evacuation order. (Crystal Mavor/Facebook - image credit)
Logan Lake resident Crystal Mavor, right, and her husband were on the road travelling across the Thompson-Nicola region for a week after their entire family had to leave home under evacuation order. (Crystal Mavor/Facebook - image credit)

For Crystal Mavor, coming home after a wildfire evacuation felt much sweeter when she received greetings from firefighters along the road leading to her house in Logan Lake, B.C.

Mavor said it was an overwhelmingly joyful experience to see dozens of firefighters standing next to their trucks waving to her as she drove home after the evacuation order was lifted on Thursday, with no homes in the community lost to fire.

"It was awesome to see," Mavor said Friday to Sarah Penton, the host of CBC's Radio West.

"I feel for them working day and night, obviously it's not an easy job, and to try to save our community like they did … is just so bonding."

When the evacuation order came down a week earlier, Mavor and her husband had left their three sons at home to enjoy a vacation in the Shuswap, so they had to rush back home to get the family together.

WATCH | Crystal Mavor is welcomed home by firefighters

"It was straight to panic mode," she said. "We packed up and basically had everything ready because we had been on [evacuation] alert."

She added, "the Lytton fire was the only thing I could think of — and it was terrifying to think that we had kids at home that needed our help."

More than 2,000 Logan Lake residents are now back on evacuation alert after the order was rescinded around noon Thursday.

When the evacuation order came down, Mavor and her family returned to the Shuswap and stayed there for two more days, then travelled 150 kilometres to Lower Nicola and camped at her uncle-in-law's house.

But hours after setting up the camp on Sunday, they faced another evacuation order because of wildfire.

Submitted by Crystal Mavor
Submitted by Crystal Mavor

Mavor said it was very stressful to drive another 100 kilometres to Kamloops, but she's thankful for the generosity her family received from the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation when they settled in the powwow grounds.

"Our experience there was absolutely wonderful — they treated us like no others, and they provided three meals a day for us, fresh shower, water, laundry, absolutely everything," she said.

"They were so kind to us, and it was an experience of a lifetime that I hope not to repeat, but if it was to happen again, that's exactly where we would go."

Rooftop sprinklers save Logan Lake

Mavor said she's grateful to see her house wasn't damaged by the blaze, thanks to a rooftop sprinkler installed by the local fire department.

Logan Lake Fire Chief Doug Wilson said most local residents followed the evacuation order, and he praises the community-wide sprinkler system for protecting homes from flames.

"We didn't have the entire town lit up," he said Thursday on Radio West.

"[We were] directing the fire to where we wanted [it] to go when there was no fuel left for it to burn — everything was too wet for it to burn at that point."

Mavor said the local fire department's hard work makes her proud to be a Logan Lake citizen.

"The way they fought this classic fire was above and beyond," she said. "We're safe. I feel really good. I know we are still on alert, so I just want to stay positive."

Tap the link below to hear Crystal Mavor's interview on Radio West:

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