The Penticton Emergency Support Services has been recognized for its efforts last summer in helping evacuees during the Keremeos Creek wildfire.
“Penticton is fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who are ready on short notice to provide support for those who are going through a difficult time,” says Brittany Seibert, the emergency program coordinator with the Penticton Fire Department. “The work they do is vital in relieving some of the anxiety people face during wildfires. The volunteers do it as a way to give back to their neighbours, and so, it’s nice to see their work honoured.”
The City of Penticton’s ESS opened up a reception centre and supported more than 200 evacuees.
During the Keremeos Creek Wildfire, which broke out on July 29, 2022, there were three communities evacuated and many more were put on alert. Residents of the Village of Apex Mountain, the Town of Ollala and parts of Green Mountain Road were evacuated from their homes. Highway 3A was also closed for some time.
Evacuation alerts were rescinded for areas near Olalla and the Village of Keremeos while the wildfire grew to more than 7,000 hectares. The blaze wasn’t brought under control until Aug. 26, 2022.
With wildfire season here and several communities in the province already facing evacuations, Seibert notes that now is the time to be prepared by planning ahead.
“It is difficult to predict the exact moment when a fire will ignite. Often, time can be of the essence when it comes to evacuations,” she said. “Taking the time to have that plan, which includes a plan for children and animals, preparing a grab-and-go bag, knowing where important documents like your insurance papers are, can save valuable time in case you do need to leave in a hurry.”
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