With the Keremeos Creek wildfire forcing the evacuation of more than 500 properties, the BC SPCA is reminding people that emergency help is available for pets and other animals.
The wildfire, nearly 6,000 hectares in size as of Aug. 5, has closed Highway 3A from the junction with Highway 97 in Kaleden while prompting evacuation alerts on a total of 1,050 properties.
“It is challenging enough for evacuees to find temporary shelter for themselves, but it can be even more difficult to find places that will accommodate their pets,” said Tracy Westmoreland, the senior director for provincial animal care services.
In 2021, the BC SPCA cared for hundreds of animals impacted by wildfires, floods and other natural disasters around the province.
Westmoreland added that the non-profit group offers free emergency boarding for pets, and other services like the distribution of food, crates, leashes, collars and other supplies.
“Until very recently, we still had animals in our free emergency boarding program from disasters that took place in 2021,” she said. “It was so wonderful to see them reunited with their families, who were finally able to take them home.”
The BC SPCA is also reminding people to include pets in their own emergency plans.
“Having a ‘go bag’ and crate ready with a leash, a supply of food, medication, veterinary contact information and other key items can make a big difference,” they wrote in a notice.
“Help is available for pets and other animals in the case of evacuation,” they added.
Fast-moving winds on Thursday prompted dozens of additional evacuation orders for Olalla and alerts for parts of the Village of Keremeos.
A total of 393 firefighters are currently assigned to work the blaze.