Evacuated Joe Rich residents say they were prepared

Kelowna - People seem to know what they’re doing in these situations, says emergency services worker

Hailey Lambert was at home baking when sirens interrupted the calm of the day.

At first she thought Emergency Services were responding to a car crash, but when sirens kept getting louder she went outside and saw a small amount of smoke rising above her neighbourhood.

“Within an hour it was a volcano, almost,” she said.

Using the experience from four previous wildfire evacuations, she and her family packed up their irreplaceable belongings and family pets and headed out.

She wasn’t the only one ready for the evacuation.

Ryan Blaney has been forced from his home for wildfires twice already — one in 2003 and one two years earlier —and when he heard about Thursday’s fire he knew just what to do.

“As soon as I got off work, I bombed up (home) as fast as I could,” he said. “I know how it is … how fast they get the roadblocks up.”

Friends followed and helped him get his stuff, as was the case for many of the people in the close-knit neighbourhood.

“ My next-door neighbour has seven horses,” he said. “Her husband works up north and before I could offer to help she had five friends with trucks and horse trailers there. They were prepared more so than they would have been two years ago.”

Emergency support services worker for the Okanagan, Catherine Williams said people seem to know what they’re doing in these situations.

“I don’t know whether it’s that Kelowna has had a lot of these, but I’m always surprised by the resiliency of the Okanagan,” she said. “It’s hard on some people but the majority are taking it on their stride.”

By Tuesday morning, there were 260 families being helped at the Emergency Services by 30 volunteers.

“A lot of people are going to friends and family, and they didn’t have warning,” she said.

Those people, she said, need toothbrushes and toothpaste and underwear and they’re getting vouchers for clothing.

Just Posted

Popular stories from the week

Every Saturday, the Capital News highlights popular stories from the week

Mining led to mass production, says UBCO prof

Without destructive mining, mass production and consumption would not be possible

Grease fire contained in West Kelowna

Crews responded at 11:40 a.m. this morning

Veteran reporter to stay at Global Okanagan

Blaine Gaffney was given a layoff notice after a miscommunication

In Photos: UBCO Heat teaches basketball skills

The women’s team visited Ellison Elementary Wednesday and Thursday

What’s happening

Check out what is happening this weekend in the Okanagan-Shuswap.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

Ski Patrol and SAR search for missing skier

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

Most Read