Two families have lost everything after a forest fire ravaged their homes in southeastern New Brunswick.

The fire in the River Glade area, located about 35 kilometres southwest of Moncton, was the largest of a number of big forest fires in all three Maritime provinces.

About 100 emergency workers battled the massive blaze Tuesday afternoon and into the night. The fire had spread to cover 500 hectares by Tuesday night.

Several homes in the area were evacuated.

Victim Kayla Riley had little time to save any of her possessions – some of which were memories of her mother, who passed away only two months ago – before her home burned to the ground.

“Just a few pictures, a baby book, a couple of clothes,” she says.

Karen Macleod lives at the corner of Middlesex and Sanitorium Roads, where a command centre was set up.

The fire reached her property but was successfully extinguished just in time.

“I started to panic because I would see the smoke and all that stuff,” explains Macleod. “I went and got my animals and took them out of the house because I was afraid that it was coming this way and I wanted to save them.”

Macleod says it’s an experience that helped her focus on priorities.

"The pets and I was out of there, just as simple as that,” says Macleod. “It shows you that nothing matters as long as you are OK and the people and animals that you love are living and everything else can be replaced.”

Fire crews from several departments are still monitoring hot spots and dealing with flare-ups, while water bombers continue to fly over the area.

Most of the property damage occurred on Middlesex Road, where the two homes were destroyed.

Of the roughly 20 residents who were evacuated, the Canadian Red Cross says all but one are now staying with family and friends.

A spokeswoman for the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources says all forest fires in the province this year have been started by people.

“It is either manmade or lightning-caused or anything like that, but we haven’t had any lightning in this area, so again it is under investigation, and that will be confirmed,” says Gail Duncan.

There are no reports of injuries.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell