Random House, Inc. After three years of unusually dry weather, the British Columbia Interior was ready to explode. All that was needed was a spark to start a conflagration.
By the end of the year, more than 2,500 fires had destroyed 264,433 hectares of forest. A quarter of a billion trees were lost. Three hundred and thirty-four homes were destroyed. More than 50,000 people were evacuated. More property was lost to fire than in any previous year in B.C. history.
Reporters and photographers from newspapers serving the Interior – including the Kelowna Daily Courier, Penticton Herald, Kamloops Daily News, Nelson Daily News, and Cranbrook Daily Townsman – witnessed these events as they happened. With the material they supplied, Ross Freake and Don Plant have written an authoritative text, and selected some 140 stunning, full-colour photographs describing the terrible fires of 2003. Firestorm records the spectacular advance of the major fires, the mass evacuations that affected so many communities, and the devastation the fires left behind.
The book also records details of the heroic battles fought to defeat the fires by volunteer and professional firefighters from across the country. The pages of this book are graphic testimony to the courage, resilience, and resourcefulness of men and women who were pushed to the limit and emerged triumphant.