An evacuation centre has been set up at the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre for residents order to leave their homes due to the McCormick Creek wildfire. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

McCormick Creek evacuee leaves home as fire-charred wood reaches his property

Jim Mullaly was one of many Nelway evacuees to go through the evacuation centre in Salmo Saturday.

Jim Mullaly was one of the many people to walk through the doors at the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre where an evacuation centre has been set up for residents who were ordered to leave their homes due the McCormick Creek fire near Salmo, BC.

Mullaly owns property on Rosebud Lake Road on the east side of the evacuation zone. “It was a beautiful spot,” he said.

The fact that the fire was nearing his home became evident to Mulaly Friday night. “Chunks of cedar were coming from the fire and coming and landing all of the way over at my place last night — it was blackened, just from the heat and it [the fire] was five or six kilometres [away].

Mullaly was hauling his portable sawmill behind his truck as he pulled into the evacuation centre, since its loss would not be covered by his insurance. He plans to drop it off at a friends house for storage. “I hauled out about $15,000 or $20,000 worth of equipment last night,” added Mullaly.

“There’s other people out there who say they are going to stay, they are going to ride it out. I’m not, I’m leaving,” said Mullaly. “I’ve been burned out before — waking up in the middle of the night to a house full of smoke.”

He was referring to the time several years ago when a wood furnace failure burned his house down. “It was a cedar house, so it was gone in no time.”

“I brought my clothes, because the last time I lost everything, I got out with a shirt and a pair of pants that I had on — then I found out how expensive it is to replace your jeans and shirts and socks and everything,” said Mullaly.

The Red Cross set him up with a local hotel room and he said his first order of business will be taking a shower and trying to calm his dog who is upset and confused.

Mullaly will also be provided with three meals a day for the next three days and if the evacuation order still remains in place, extensions will be considered.

Information on the evacuation alerts and orders can be found on the Regional District of Central Kootenays website, RDCK.ca