‘Reality has not set in yet’: Family recounts losing home in Telegraph Creek fire

On her drive home from her parents’ place with her kids in the car on the night of Aug. 1, Heidi Hebb saw a large plume of smoke above her property in the distance, prompting her to immediately turn the car around and alert fire officials.

“That’s where it all started,” she said. “It was such a small fire to begin with, but it was so close to our house.”

The next morning, the family was home, loading as much as they could into three vehicles and a trailer with the help of local RCMP officers.

“Just that memory of throwing things into a truck as fast as we could, and being doused with fire retardant as we were leaving, with the fire just a couple hundred metres away from us … it was devastating.”

Short notice is a common story among the many residents that face evacuation orders. While Heidi, her husband Travis and their three children got out safely, driving to Kamloops. But their property was one of more than 30 buildings in the Telegraph Creek vicinity that have been destroyed by fires to date.

Telegraph Creek is a small community in northern B.C. at the heart of the Tahltan Nation. Tahltan people have for long lived along the salmon-rich Stikine River and it’s a recognized heritage area for its connections to the Klondike gold rush. It’s also one of the worst-hit areas of B.C. this fire season.

It’s unclear if any historic structures were damaged. But the fire will take a toll on traditional, cultural and economic activities of the Tahltan First Nation, the nation’s central government said.

Heidi and Travis Hepp, with their children and Heidi’s parents. They lost their home in the fire that ravaged Telegraph Creek. andout/Hebb Family. August, 2018 [PNG Merlin Archive]

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Source:: Vancouver Sun

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