Emergency Social Services set up at Penticton community centre for evacuees from Interior fires. Submitted photo

Preparations made to receive fire evacuees

Once again, Penticton’s community centre is welcoming fire evacuees

Evacuees from the Williams Lake and other fires are streaming south, and preparations are being made locally to receive some of them.

Last night, the community Emergency Social Services team set up to receive up to 500 evacuees from Williams Lake. A reception centre for evacuees from the Cariboo and Thompson-Nicola regions is set up at the Penticton Community Centre, to help deal with thousands of people evacuated from Williams Lake and other areas.

The Penticton ESS Reception Centre phone number is 250-328-2702. Evacuees requiring local lodging and food vouchers are asked to register in person at the Penticton Reception Centre at the Penticton Community Centre at 325 Power Street.

Officials with the City of Penticton and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen were briefed on the wildfire situation, along with a structure fire in the Allison Lake area along Highway 5A north of Princeton. This fire was unrelated to the nearby wildfire and is a separate incident. Allison Lake remains north of the mandatory evacuation order affecting properties on Highway 5A north of Princeton. Fire crews responded to the fire and there is no increased risk to nearby properties at this time.

Information meetings were held in Princeton and at the Erris Fire Hall last night. Representatives of the Wildfire Service, RCMP, RDOS, Town of Princeton and Emergency Social Services were in attendance to answer questions, stating they will be watching the fire closely this weekend and will reassess evacuation orders and road closures on Monday when winds are expected to lessen.

A further information meeting will be held in Princeton at the Riverside Community Centre at 4 pm on Tuesday, July 18. A potential meeting will also be held at the Erris Fire Hall at 6 p.m. that day depending on the movement of the fire and the closure of Princeton Summerland Road.

Homes in evacuation alert areas should make arrangements to deal with livestock and pets before an evacuation order is issued for their property. The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) is a team of volunteers that assist with any type of pet or livestock in an emergency. these volunteers are set up at the Princeton rodeo grounds and can help remove and care for animals, at no charge, for people in evacuation order or alert areas.

In Princeton, their number at this time is 250-295-3250. People interested in donating or volunteering can visit www.cdart.org.

Information will be updated at www.rdos.bc.ca including links to interactive maps where residents can type in their property address to see if they are in Evacuation Order or Alert areas. The Regional District Emergency Operations Centre can be contacted at 250-490-4225.

DriveBC shows that Highway 5A between Aspen Grove and Princeton has been closed to traffic. Consult www.drivebc.com for updates on closures for all local roads.

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