Date: Saturday, August 22, 2003
Time: 1:45 p.m.
PUBLIC INFO LINE: 869-0386
PRC RECEPTION CENTRE: 762-8646
KSS RECEPTION CENTRE: 762-3149
RED CROSS INFO LINE RE EVACUEES: 1-888-350-6070
PROVINCIAL INFO LINE: 1-800-311-7044
The City of Kelowna Fire Departmentís initial assessment of its major fire fighting efforts has determined that approximately 203 homes were lost Friday night. Most of the homes were located in the outer City limits on the south and easterly borders in the Okaview, Chute Lake, Trumpeter, Viewcrest and Curlew areas. In the Kettle Valley subdivision, itís believed only four homes couldnít be saved. Fire Chief Zimmermann says the fires were fierce and his crews worked extraordinarily hard in extremely difficult conditions. There were 175 firefighters and an additional 170 armed forces personnel, along with 50 fire trucks, deployed in the fight. Ministry of Forests crews were also on scene assisting in the massive fire fighting effort.
This forest fire with its extremely dry fuel sources continues to challenge experts; itís suggested only one fire like this would happened every 100 years. Forest fire fighting and emergency preparedness personnel say theyíve never experienced such an extraordinary fire with such severe implications. With 26,000 residents forced from their homes this is believed to be the largest evacuation in the shortest period of time in Canadaís history.
Due to the volatile conditions and the concern for residentís safety there will be no day passes issued today. The situation will be assessed at 5 p.m. this evening to determine if some residents may be allowed back into their homes during the day tomorrow.
If evacuees havenít already registered at the reception centres, they are requested to do so. Residents with last names beginning with A to K should register at Parkinson Recreation Centre and residents with last names beginning with L to Z should register at Kelowna Secondary School on Raymer Road behind the OUC KLO campus. If evacuees require assistance with lodging, food or clothing, registration is necessary. It also allows friends and family, as well as officials, to contact evacuees. There are an estimated 3,000 local residents who have traveled to Kamloops for accommodation. Those residents are being advised to register at the Kamloops Emergency Social Services facility in Sport Mart Place.
Please be advised that scheduled commercial flights are operating normally at Kelowna International Airport. All other aircraft movements are not permitted without prior approval of the Airport Manager. This is to ensure the airspace is kept clear for the aerial fire fighting operation involved with the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.
Kelowna Regional Transit buses are running in areas under Evacuation Alert.
Evacuation Order: (Out Of Their Homes)
26, 000 people
Evacuation Alert: (Be Ready To Leave)
25% of the Cityís population