Fire at Okanagan’s Evely Recreation Site sends two to hospital

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Fire at Okanagan’s Evely Recreation Site sends two to hospital – Jul 6, 2022

A fire at the Evely campground, on the northwest side of Okanagan Lake early Wednesday, completely destroyed the site host’s trailer and sent two to hospital.

Originally reported as a brush fire by someone who spotted it from across the lake, North Westside Fire Rescue’s deputy chief said the trailer was already fully engulfed when fire trucks arrived.

The fire department said two occupants of the trailer escaped with minor injuries and were taken to hospital by ambulance.

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Camper Sheldon Reddekopp said he was woken up just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning when someone was driving through the campground honking and yelling “Fire!”

“I ran up to the road and took a look a little closer. There was, I think, a boom. A propane tank or something blew and then [I] saw a tree candle…and we are like, ‘Ah yeah, we are going to get out of here,” Reddekopp recalled.
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Flashing back to watching the White Rock Lake wildfire move quickly through the area last year, Reddekopp’s group from nearby Vernon decided to grab what they could and leave.

Other campers who stayed, walked towards the host site near the entrance.

“Quite a scene. It was travelling up the mountain sort of. I was hoping the trees weren’t catching on fire. Looks like it was catching the bottoms of the trees, but they got it under control pretty quickly,” said camper Gradyn Robertson.

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“I’m just happy it was controlled [and] no one had to leave and evacuate…Could have been a lot worse.”

Indeed, the deputy fire chief said if this had happened in 2021’s dry conditions it could have been a disaster.

As it was, the trailer burnt down to its frame, but the fire was largely contained to the one campsite.

Officials don’t yet know what sparked the fire or if it is suspicious. However, the fire department reported the blaze to police. An officer was on scene Wednesday taking pictures.

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The site hosts are expected to return and in the meantime, the campground remains open.

The provincial government, which manages the site, said it is investigating.

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