Lending a helping hand to wildfire evacuees.

A local business woman is working to raise funds to help people driven from their homes by wildfires in the area.

Debbie Ramsay (second from left) is joined in front of her Houndogs Restaurant by (from left)Halle Lezard

Debbie Ramsay (second from left) is joined in front of her Houndogs Restaurant by (from left)Halle Lezard

Debbie Ramsay spent a sleepless night worrying about the people driven from their homes in the Oliver area by two wildfires threatening the town.

“I can’t handle people that are suffering,” said the proprietor of Houndogs Restaurant, next to the Okanagan River Channel.

Ramsay had already decided she needed to do something to help the people affected by the still-growing Rock Creek fire, and the need in Oliver made her even more resolved.

“I keep thinking about the people that were running from the campground (in the Rock Creek area), running for their lives. They left everything,” she said.

Ramsay is setting up a GoFundMe page under the name Houndogs Fire Evacuee Fund, and is encouraging people to chip in.

“If we could get everyone from Penticton and surrounding areas to donate one hour of their wages, we can help all the people in all the fires,” said Ramsay, noting that homes have been destroyed in all of the fires.

“These people have lost everything. Insurance covers it, if you have it, but it doesn’t cover anything right now,” said Ramsay. Funds raised in her campaign, she said, could go to a variety of uses, for food and clothes or even to help the people who are hosting evacuees with food bills.

“We want to help as much as we can. and  we also have a drop off box here (at Houndogs) if anyone is willing to donate,” said Ramsay, adding that her staff is going to help, and the youth working at Coyote Cruises have also volunteered to chip in.

Ramsay said she doesn’t know anyone that has been affected by the fires, but she has a very straightforward reason for wanting to lend a hand.

“I just love people,” she said.

For more information on how you can contribute, drop by Houndogs Restaurant.

Efforts are also being made by Red Cross to support those affected by wildfires in B.C. Donations to the B.C. Wildfires 2015 fund will help provide immediate assistance to impacted individuals and families in places like Rock Creek. To support people affected by wildfires donate online at www.redcross.ca/bcwildfires2015 or by phone at 1-800-418-1111.