Evacuees call Kelowna a temporary home

The Salvation Army opens their doors to wildfire evacuees from Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Close to 75 evacuees from Williams Lake and 100 Mile House have registered at the Kelowna Salvation Army on Sutherland Avenue over the the last two-to-three days.

Beryl Itani, a volunteer with Emergency Support Services, says those who are most vulnerable or with medical conditions are being placed in hotel rooms for the next 72 hours while others will be set up in group lodging at K.L.O. Middle School.

“We are expecting a large number of people to come in from Williams Lake in the next 24 hours,” she says.

Kelly Price evacuated his Williams Lake home last Friday after concern his mother would not be able to breath under the smokey skies.

“We decided to come and stay with Family in Vernon,” says Price. “It’s pretty smokey, people are starting to feel the effects (in Williams Lake), people are saying they feel like a two-pack a day smoker.”

Itani explains that while things have been running smoothly at the Emergency Social Services Reception Centre, evacuees are upset with the situation but understand there isn’t much that can be done right now.

“They don’t know how long this is going to last or how much longer they are going to be out of their homes, out of their areas, or are they going to have a home to go back to? We don’t have the answers so we just have to reassure them we can take care of them until they can go back home.”

The EOC is expecting to offer assistance to at least 1,000 people over the upcoming days, given the air quality issues in some areas in the Cariboo as well as the fires.

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