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Getting out of town

Zone 4 – Just taking the irreplaceable

Portrait of a dark haired man with glasses smiles.

1. Doug Adams was evacuated.

It was so surprising to me when we were forced to make decisions on what to take when we were forced from our house. We packed up to go out to our lake cabin and we had very little ‘stuff’ that we considered irreplaceable. Some jewelry and our photo albums were all that really mattered. All of it could fit in a Rubbermaid tub.

Woman police officer shines flash light at a male driver in a red car.

2. Roadblocks! One of many RMCP officers brought in to keep the community safe after the residents were evacuated.

Earl Roberts warned us to leave sooner than later. He was the Bank Manager at Scotia Bank and a volunteer fireman. He felt the roads could get choked with people rushing to leave at the last minute.

Doug Adams, Past President
Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village

Zone 2 – On evacuation alert! Are we taking the TV?

Man in a winter jacket sits at a computer desk, smiling.

3. Louis Thomas remembers the lighter side of being on evacuation alert in 1998. The safety of his family was his focus. A band counselor, he says he takes pride in looking after his people.

Louis Thomas and his family live on the Neskonlith Indian Reserve west of Salmon Arm. He remembers being warned of an impending evacuation.

When authorities warned the residents that they might be evacuated, the Thomas family prepared for the worst. There was a lot of smoke and the fire was a few kilometres away. Louis asked his children to pack the essentials. His boys grabbed a garbage bag and stuffed clothes into them. His much younger daughters got out suitcases and packed their clothes neatly. When the family thought about the possessions they wanted to take with them if an evacuation was ordered, the Thomas girls asked, “What about the TV?”

 Louis laughed and told them a television was replaceable.

Louis Thomas, resident
Neskonlith Indian Band

This is the Salmon Arm evacuation map that was issued during the Fire of 1998. The community was divided into 5 zones. Zone 1 bordered Fly Hills and was south west of Salmon Arm. The Silver Creek Fire burned out of control in Zone 1, destroying many houses. North of Zone 1 was Zone 2, which also bordered on Fly Hills, but it was not evacuated. Zone 3 was east of Zone 1, heavily populated and threatened by the fire. Zones 4 and 5 sandwiched Zone 3 - north and south of Zone 3. They were not evacuated.

4. Salmon Arm was divided into 5 zones. This evacuation map shows the divisions. When the fire crossed into Zone 1, people had to flee. People in Zone 3 were evacuated on August 9th. The fire did not threaten Zones 2, 4 and 5.


Photo credit in order of appearance:
1. Donna Adams, c. 2016
2. James Murray, Salmon Arm Observer, c. 1998
3. Deborah Chapman, Salmon Arm Museum, c. 2015