Residents caught their first glimpse of Highway 20 near Kleena Kleene in the Chilcotin Wednesday night (July 14) after the Big Stick Lake fire swept over road earlier this week.
From smoldering ash to areas where flames were still visible along the road, a video taken by Denise Cahoose gives a sense of the path of destruction left by the Big Stick fire, which has been fuelled by sustained winds over the past week.
Cahoose said seeing the damage made her feel “awful for the elders.”
She added the fire destroyed a pine mushroom harvesting area valuable to her Ulkatcho First Nation community members who pick the mushrooms for income in the fall.
DriveBC reported Thursday Highway 20 has reopened in both directions between Tatla Lake and Anahim Lake with pilot car service available from 3 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Motorists are reminded Highway 20 is subject to closure due to wildfires and there are limited accommodations and supply in Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake.
The highway between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola also opened late Thursday with a pilot car (July 15).
The Big Stick fire has grown to roughly 4,000 hectares and continues to challenge the BC Wildfire Service.
Residents in the area remain on evacuation alerts and orders.