The RDEK’s Director of Area E returned to her home outside of Kimberley Wednesday after being evacuated for nearly two weeks.
An Evacuation Order in the St Mary Valley was downgraded earlier this week, allowing 40 property owners back into their houses.
This includes Jane Walter who lives in the area of the evacuation.
“It was a very anxious time. Personally, I had a horrible time catching two cats, so I was relieved when I finally did that,” Walter says. “I know the neighbours, some of us had been following the alert pretty closely and had our stuff ready to go. Some of the neighbours had thought it would never happen. It was an anxious night, but everybody handled it very well that came in that night to register.”
She says she was very anxious to leave her home for the past 12 days.
“You worry about different things. Some of us had gardens that we were thinking we had wasted all of our time. Others just worried that we might not be able to go home, that the home wouldn’t still be there,” Walter says. “At the first few days, that was the real concern for many people.”
Walter feels for the 25 property owners still under an evacuation order closest to the over 92 hundred hectare Meachen Creek Fire.
“It must be so hard to continue being out of their home and the fires are quite close to that area,” Walter says. “The ongoing worry is just tremendous for those people.”
She thanked all volunteers with Emergency Social Services and the RDEK for their support while she was away from her home.
“Those volunteers have just been fantastic,” Walter says. “They are always there to talk to the people, give them advice and help them out in anyway they can.”
An evacuation alert remains in place for the city of Kimberley and 40 properties east of Lakeside/Lakefront Road in the St Mary Valley. The evacuation order remains in place for 25 properties to the west of that area.
An evacuation alert still stands for one property near Yahk due to the over 1,000 hectare Randal Creek fire.
An evacuation alert also remains in effct for nine properties near Radium due to the Cross River fire.
– Jane Walter, RDEK Director – Area E
(Pictured: Barricade across St Mary Lake Road)