Rescue group recovers animals from wildfire in Rock Creek

It was a hectic scenario with two major wildfires burning, but Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team jumped into action.

It was a hectic scenario with two major wildfires burning, but Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) crews were able save pets and horses with the help of generous volunteers.

Four cats, nine dogs, one bunny and nine horses were able to be pulled from the Rock Creek fire, as crews and volunteers began responding to the blaze Aug. 13  supporting Emergency Social Services (ESS) in Kelowna.

“We were so grateful for the support of the Kelowna riding club, that’s where we have the horses,” said Deborah Silk, Commander with CDART.

The club members weren’t the only ones to step up to the plate during the frantic operation.

“We had tremendous support from a boarding facility in Kelowna called Whiskers and Woofers. The services of a veterinary hospital in Winfield called the Tri Lake Animal Hospital.”

Teams with trucks and trailers, most of them volunteers, went in late Thursday night to load up the horses.

“They had a very limited window of opportunity that we were given by the EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and they went in and they were able to evacuate these nine horses to a staging area in the (evacuation) alert area,” Silk said.

A search and response team was pulled out from the Rock Creek fire because of fires starting up near Oliver.

“Their homes were being evacuated so we had to pull them out,” Silk said.

Volunteers from Kelowna then came in to pick up the horses. Then around midnight Friday CDART began setting up to support Emergency Social Services

“We had an incredible search and response team and the Oliver riding club took the training a couple of years ago, so they are all part of our search and response team,”  Silk said.

The situation was frantic. One woman moved her horses from the Sidley Mountain fire to Oliver, and had her horses re-evacuated to Sidley Mountain once again.

Pets have been making their way home since the highways started becoming safe to drive again.

“Most of them are returned, they opened up Highway 3 and a lot of people were able to get back to their homes. We still have some dogs out and we still have some cats out,” Silk said.

Around 30 volunteers at the Rock Creek fire and 20 volunteers at the Oliver-area fires helped pull the operation together as well as local ranches the D-Bar-K Ranch in Oliver helped with evacuations and Silk said the Thordason family was especially helpful with their property.

“We used their property as a staging area and they were unbelievably kind, and generous and skilled,” Silk said. “But they have used up every bit of (horse) tack that they have.”

They are still looking for donations of horse tack which can be dropped off at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

“Thank you to all the people who donated hay, dog food and supply food,” Silk said.

Unfortunately, not every animal can be saved.

“Sadly there are lives lost, some livestock has been lost,” Silk said.

CDART has a mortality team on standby to support those who lost pets or livestock if required, Silk said.

If you’re looking for a lost pet call the CDART emergency line at 250-809-7152.


Just Posted

Cyclist in distress prompts Hwy 3A closure

BC Air Ambulance transported the male, believed to be in his 50s, to a nearby hospital

Cannabis Cottage opens its doors in Penticton

The third dispensary in the city opened on Saturday

Penticton Minor Lacrosse Alum returns from Worlds Junior to stay in Canada

Aidan Danby helped Canada to sweep the tournament

Vees sweep up their first preseason win Friday night

The team is off to take on the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night

Nature Wise: Pushback against resource development projects

Bob Handfield is president of the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

Man shot near Coalmont airlifted to hospital

A man was shot near Coalmont B.C. Saturday afternoon. The victim was… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Renter of torched Okanagan home a British Army veteran, new Canadian

Owen Wilson was just beginning to settle into life in Canada when the blaze occurred

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read