As fire season draws near, the District of West Kelowna would like to remind residents that the onset of warm, dry weather brings about the possibility of wildfire activity.
In the past decade alone there have been a number of high profile fires that have descended on the area, including the Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire that destroyed more than 230 homes (2003) and the wildfires in Glenrosa (2009) and Peachland (2012).
People living in high risk areas can prepare for these types of incidents by organizing family emergency kits, which include necessary items like medication, toiletries, clothing, identification, insurance papers and other important documents and emergency items.
Families should also have an escape plan in order so everyone knows how to get out of the home quickly and safely and meet in a designated area. A contingency plan should also be formulated in case anyone gets separated. You can stay on top of changing conditions by following the local media and the instructions of emergency officials.
Vehicles should be pre-packed and ready to go, and residents should consider how to prepare their home, in the event they have to leave quickly. Also consider the special needs of any family members that may require additional help and the needs of family pets.
In the event of an interface fire threat:
- If there are reports of interface fires in your area, stay tuned to local radio or television stations for updated emergency information. You can also sign up to receive email emergency notifications from the Regional Emergency Programs website.
- If there is potential of a wildland fire threatening populated areas, officials may issue an evacuation alert.
- An evacuation alert means people are warned of possible threat to life and property, and may be asked to leave on short notice. Prepare your home and family now. Get your family emergency kit.
- If the threat increases, an evacuation order will be issued and residents are required to leave the area immediately. Follow the instructions of emergency officials. If you are evacuated, register with the local Emergency Support Services Reception Centre. Fire situation updates will be provided to the public through the news media.
- When the threat decreases, the evacuation order will be rescinded.
- When you return home, you should use caution and exercise good judgment when re-entering an affected area as hazards may still exist.
More information and updates on wildfire activity can be found here.
Click here to read about the last forest fire in West Kelowna.