The Emergency Social Service Centre is located at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church at 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

The Emergency Social Service Centre is located at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church at 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Wildfire evacuees arrive at West Kelowna reception centre

For one woman it was deja vu. She was evacuated from her Kamloops home in 2003 because of wildfire

After a night in a hotel with her three dogs, worrying about the fate of her home and the her cat who she could not round up when the evacuation order came her Brent Road-area neighbourhood Wednesday night, Maridee Skidmore says she just wants to go home.

Skidmore arrived at the evacuation centre in West Kelowna Thursday morning, saying when she left her home 10 minutes south of Peachland near Brent Road, there was fire all around.

“It was very smoky and there were so many fires,” she said.

She left around 8:30 p.m. after gathering a few belonging, tossing them in her car and rounding up her three dogs.

“It was just horrible—a nightmare,” she said.

With the fire near Peachland closing Highway 97 at various times during the night, an evacuation centre was set up at the Lakeview Baptist Church in West Kelowna. Another centre was set up in Penticton for people farther south. A large fire is also burning near Summerland.

Another evacuee, Rhoda Bradford, went south with her family when she had to flee her home Wednesday night, and stayed with friends near Summerland.

On Thursday morning she arrived at the West Kelowna evacuation centre to register.

“It was awful,” said Bradford recounting her experience the previous evening.

And for her, it was a case of deja vu.

In 2003, living near Kamloops, she was also forced to flee her home due to wildfire.

“This time I knew what to do,” she said.

Catherine Williams, the Emergency Social Services director for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, said only three groups of people were registered at the West Kelowna centre late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The centre opened at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Later in the morning others arrived, including Skidmore, Bradford and a family with two small children.

Williams said her mandate is to look after people for the first 72 hours and the three “households” that arrived during the night were put up in local hotels.

“Right now were are playing by ear,” she said in terms of dealing with more registrations.

She said how many more people her ESS staff may have to deal with at the centre will largely depend on the action and direction of the fire.

Late Wednesday evacuation notices were issued for 7100 to 7210 Brent Road, south of Peachland, and for 7212 to 7289 Highway 97 South, a total of 34 properties.

The fire, known as the Mount Eneas wildfire has also prompted the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to evacuate nine properties on Highway 97 father south, including the Okanagan Lake provincial campground.

In addition to the evacuation centre in West Kelowna, an evacuation centre has also been set up at the Penticton Community Centre.

The fire are believed to have started as a result of a severe lightening storm that swept through the area Tuesday night.

Just Posted

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets at Prospera Place in Kelowna (Craft Culture Events/Contributed).
Kelowna’s Prospera Place summer market a success

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets and vendors were ‘excited’ to be back

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

A young child has been taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Investigation ongoing after child struck by vehicle downtown Vernon

A young child was taken to hospital Friday with undetermined injuries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read