Interior Health says it is taking proactive measures in case the Christie Mountain wildfire expands.
The blaze is currently estimated at 2,000 hectares and features an evacuation order for 319 homes plus an evacuation alert affecting nearly 3,700 properties in the southeast portion of Penticton, B.C.
Further, on Thursday, fire, city and regional district officials showed concern over a forecast featuring winds of 20 to 40 kilometres an hour, with gusts of up to 70 km/h.
Those winds, officials state, could push the evacuation alert into becoming an evacuation order.
If that happens, Interior Health says it has activated its internal emergency operation centre and has prepared contingency plans in case the evacuation zone is expanded.
Part of IH’s planning includes reducing patient occupancy at Penticton Regional Hospital.
According to Interior Health:
- Nearby hospitals are preparing to receive patient transfers from Penticton if the hospital is ordered to evacuate
- Intensive care unit patients from Penticton have been transferred to Kelowna to ensure their care is continued
- Surgical patients requiring an overnight stay are being rescheduled and replaced with patients awaiting surgical day procedures
- Alternate locations are being planned for potentially impacted long-term care homes in the event they have to evacuate
- Penticton Regional Hospital remains open to receive urgent trauma and intensive-care patients
“Braemore Lodge is within the evacuation zone and Interior Health is relocating nine of its residents and accompanying care teams to Mount Ida Mews long-term care home in Salmon Arm,” IH said in a press release.
Interior Health also said it has identified those who are in isolation due to COVID-19, and that plans are in place to support anyone who needs to remain in isolation.