Wildfires Level Shuswap Lakeside Home, Calgary Couple Contemplate Return


The lakeside home of Julie and Kevin Matiowsky, nestled on the banks of Shuswap Lake, now lay in ruins. It is one in the countless tally of residences devoured by the rapidly spreading wildfires that have ravaged the region of B.C. in recent times.

Facing the devastating prospect of starting afresh, the couple, who originally hailed from Calgary, contemplate returning to their roots in Alberta. Their aspirations of a tranquil retirement in the now incinerated abode have disintegrated, leaving behind nothing but shattered dreams.

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Having received an evacuation directive for the vicinity last Friday, Julie bid a temporary farewell to their house saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back in a few weeks.” Little did they know, their beloved home would transform into a heap of charred rubble, their cherished possessions hidden amidst the ruins, never to be recovered.

Despite the stark reality of their loss, Kevin confides, “I still have a feeling like I’m going back but there’s nothing there.” For now, the Matiowskys find solace in the company of relatives in Calgary, where they’ve taken temporary shelter. In a bid to navigate this crisis, they have initiated a GoFundMe account to tide over while they untangle the complexities of home insurance and determine the course of their future.

Confronting the loss of their life’s tangible memories, Julie said, “It’s just hard to know that your whole life is now just gone. I don’t know how to feel about it. It’s still coming in waves. It’s hard.” Displaying solidarity with others who share their predicament, Kevin adds, “There’s many others in the same situation.”

While the prospect of reconstructing their life at their cherished lakeside location in B.C. remains uncertain, the couple is potentially considering a return to Calgary, however, are refraining from any hasty decisions.

As the disaster unfolds and the evacuation remains in effect, Emergency Info BC confirms that the northern shore of Shuswap Lake, including Scotch Creek and Celista communities remain evacuated.

The Bush Creek East fire, thriving in the Shuswap region, is a priority for the B.C. Wildfire Service. An impending reinforcement of up to 150 firefighters is expected to join the effort to conquer the flames.

Notably, one of the most severely impacted fire zones, the Shuswap region, was issued a severe thunderstorm watch by Environment Canada, late Tuesday. In a surprising turn of events, Salmon Arm witnessed a torrential downpour amounting to 12 millimeters of rain, the single largest downpour this year.

Described as one of the most aggressive and fastest spreading fires in the province’s history, the Bush Creek East wildfire is estimated to have spread across 41,041 square-kilometers, burning between Chase and Sorrento.

In a commendable joint effort, the firefighting community rallies against the aggressive flames, with Forrest Tower, BC Wildfire Service Information Officer, reporting that 139 wildland firefighters, aided by 112 structural protection firefighters, are currently tackling the publicized Bush Creek East fire.

In a boost to these efforts, an additional contingent of 100 firefighters from Mexico is expected to land Friday, offering their support to the relentless firefighting cause.