Several Glenrosa residents have been displaced as evacuation alerts and orders were issued due to the growing Mount Law wildfire near the area.
The Salvation Army Community Church in Kelowna is now the designated Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for those displaced by the Mount Law fire. The past two days have been quite busy, according to emergency services director Catherine Williams.
“We’ve been placing people into hotels and into (homes) if they’re being billeted with friends, helping them with groceries, restaurants, if they need clothes,” she said.
“Most people were able to get basics out and some didn’t because (the order) was very quick.”
Glenrosa resident Ted Wright said they had a 10-minute window from when the order came down to when he and his family had to leave his home on Astoria Drive.
“(Just enough) time to hook up the trailer and that was about it,” he said.
“The first night, we were worried because we were watching (the fire) come down the mountain.”
But now, he said he feels relieved as the wildfire seems like it hasn’t progressed further towards the neighbourhood. He has security cameras on his property that he’s able to access using his phone and from what he’s seen, he knows his house is still standing and he’s hopeful he’ll have somewhere to come back to. The BC Wildfire Service said the fire remained at 800 hectares overnight between Monday and Tuesday, with little growth.
At the same time, however, he and his family are feeling frustrated with the situation.
“We haven’t really heard anything from anyone. We haven’t heard anything about being able to go back to our homes,” he said.
“We don’t have information other than what we see from the email updates so all we can do is wait.”
Samara (right), Gunner (left) and their owner Kim came from Alberta 2 weeks ago, "I'm just glad I'm with my dad, so he's not alone…It's frustrating though, we're not getting many updates, and what we are getting isn't much at all."
— Clayton Whitelaw (@ClaytonWhitelaw) August 17, 2021
Wright’s daughter, Kim, and her family came to West Kelowna for the summer as their house in Alberta is under construction, hoping that staying with him would give them respite.
Instead, they’re all cramped in a small trailer, camping out at the Westbank Walmart. But she said it hasn’t been all bad.
“It was all nerve-wracking at first, but we’ve been able to calm down. Seeing the firefighting crews’ efforts and having this trailer has given us peace of mind,” she said.
She added she’s happy she’s in town to be with her father so he’s not alone during this time.
If you are an evacuee and you need assistance, you can go to the reception centre at 1480 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna, and they will connect you to the resources you may need.
The Mount Law wildfire continues to burn out of control at an estimated 800 hectares. It is suspected human-caused and is under investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations lifted the evacuation order for hundreds of properties, allowing most residents to return home.
Only 17 properties now remain on evacuation order:
- 3713 to 3725 Emerald Road
- 3658 to 3760 Gates Road
- 3250 HIghway 97
- 3660 to 3680 McIver Road
- 3704 to 3770 Turnbull Road
477 properties remain on evacuation alert. A more detailed map is available at cordemergency.ca.