Wildfire evacuees seek refuge in Kelowna

Wildfire forces couple to seek refuge in Kelowna and leads to cancellation of their wedding

Evacuees from all over B.C. are accessing emergency services in Kelowna.

“Emergency Support Services (ESS) is here to help any people that are evacuated from any of the various fires in the province,” ESS Director Catherine Williams said.

The ESS reception centre opened Wednesday morning at the Salvation Army Church on Sutherland Avenue and in 24 hours had processed about 100 evacuees with more expected in the coming days.

“We’ll be open from 11 until 7 as long as this is going on,” Williams said. “Those hours may change obviously if we have more people coming. We will extend our hours and we will open up earlier.”

The ESS reception centre provides things like food, clothing and shelter to evacuees based on needs.

“We are prepared to open up group lodging, so we will be putting people in group lodging and we have one set up and ready to open,” Williams said.

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Okanagan residents wanting to help evacuees can do so in two ways. One is to provide shelter if you happen to know anyone fleeing from the fires.

“That would be the best thing people could do is take in evacuees,” Williams said. “If you have a friend, call them, see if they need a place to stay.”

The other way to help is to donate cash. Monetary donations are being accepted by both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.