Firefighters in West Kelowna are asking people to pay attention and be prepared as a blaze encroaching on the city is growing and changing rapidly.
Fire Chief Jason Brolund spoke with Capital News over the phone from the front lines of the 300-hectare McDougall Creek blaze at approximately 5 p.m. on Aug. 17.
Sixty-eight homes are currently under an evacuation order and Brolund expects more orders to be issued in the coming hours.
“Conditions are changing by the minute.”
He said that people must respect evacuation orders and leave their property when instructed to do so.
“When people are asked to leave, it means that there is a safety risk. We don’t need to be rescuing people.”
Evacuees can register online or attend the information centre at Royal LePage Place, 2760 Cameron Road in West Kelowna for more information and help with next steps.
More than 6,500 properties are also under evacuation alert.
A map of all properties impacted by the fire can be found at cordemergency.ca.
Brolund said that it is important people under the evacuation alert prepare a go bag with essentials such as non perishable food, clothing, legal documents and medications. For a complete list of what should be included in an emergency supply kit visit gov.bc.ca.
He is asking that the public stay off the road when possible to allow for safe travel for those being evacuated and for emergency vehicles.
The West Kelowna Fire Department is working in collaboration with the BC Wildfire Service to mitigate the impacts of the fire.
Firefighters from West Kelowna are primarily focused on protecting structures, such as the water treatment plant, while BC Wildfire crews are battling the blaze from the ground and air.
People with a plan to protect their home with sprinklers should implement the strategy now, said Brolund.
A public information line is available at 250-469-8490 (local) or 1-877-569-8490 (toll-free).