Human and animal wildfire evacuees flood in to Historic O'Keefe Ranch

Ranch takes in evacuees

Kevin Mitchell has animals all over the North Okanagan.

The Falkland resident has moved horses, sheep and other livestock from the path of the White Rock Lake wildfire to whereever he could.

Mitchell says he doesn't know what he and his neighbours would have done without facilities at Historic O'Keefe Ranch being opened up to accept livestock.

“This is absolutely critical to us. We have run out of places to go,” Mitchell said Thursday. “Our friends have 160 sheep here. And they had to bring them down from up towards Barnhartvale.”

Mitchell began moving animals as soon as the evacuation alert was issued last week, as did many other rural residents in the evacuation zone.

With Wednesday's expanded evacuation order, he expects more animals will be needing a place to be kept.

“The Cedar Hill area, particularly, is just covered in small ranches. There is one very large dairy farm there,” said Mitchell.

He expects animals and people to be coming out of the Falkland area “in big numbers” over the next few days.

Contact the ranch or the North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association for more information.

The IPE grounds in Armstrong have also opened the gates to wildfire evacuees and their hoofed animals.

More Vernon News