Jack Bowers remembers the fire of 1998 vividly. He, like 7,000 others, was ordered to evacuate. Jack and his tenant, Ian McTavish, stayed on against the advice of the RCMP.
“I remember feeling uncharacteristically helpless. As an owner of Bowers Funeral Services, I am used to being called in during catastrophes. My staff and I help comfort grieving families by making order out of chaotic events. In 1998 I realized that I was helpless. The fire was in control.”
Jack Bowers, Bowers Funeral Services
“Eyewitnesses. . .described a horrifying scene of pieces of burning wood, sometimes as large as baseballs, falling from the sky. As these fell onto structures, vehicles, or other flammable items, fires broke out all over the valley. Those people who had not left the valley described scenes of pure panic. Despite the presence of the local fire departments, the MOF firefighters, the RCMP, the Search and Rescue volunteers, nothing could stop immediate ignition of homes and barns.”
Photo credit in order of appearance
1. Staff at Bowers Funeral Services, c. 2016
2. Gordon Pelletier, c. 1998