Helping Christie Mountain wildfire evacuees

Penticton Search and Rescue is on high alert due to the wildfire

Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) continue to be on high alert, waiting for orders from the RCMP and B.C. Wildfire to help notify residents when they need to leave their homes.

Search manager Randy Brown said they spent the morning pre-planning and giving out assignments so when the police ask them to go out, it’ll be smooth sailing.

“We’ve got maps of the city and we’ve divided the city into quadrants,” he said.

“If an evacuation order does come out, our teams will be ready to go out. Our teams have been trained to follow COVID protocols, as well as how to give out the evacuation order fast once they get there.”

He added that residents should be packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

“Personal documents and possessions should be ready. If you have hard drives and sentimental things that can’t be replaced, pack those as well. If you have pets, pack their food and necessities.”

“If you’re in Penticton, register online so the city knows where you will be. Pack and anticipate to leave so you’re ready,” he said.

Everybody may be on high alert, but several local businesses have opened their doors to provide some relief for firefighters, forestry workers, as well as evacuees.

Pasta Factory is one of them, offering a discount to help ease the stress and anxiety of displacement evacuees are feeling.

“It’s really about being a community and being there for each other. There’s only so much we can do,” Debra Williams, general manager of Pasta Factory, said.

“Everybody rallied around us (when COVID-19 started), so this is what we are doing to give back. I mean, we’re all here for each other… more than ever in 2020. I just can’t imagine being in their shoes.”

Williams said half of her staff live in the evacuation alert zone and have been home for the past couple of days getting ready, waiting for the order to leave.

The restaurant has been closed for dining in for the last two nights, but people can still order takeout.

“We’re here for whoever we can be here for. I mean, it’s Penticton. Everybody’s going to be there for everybody no matter what.”

READ: “Have a bag packed and ready to go”: Christie Mountain wildfire


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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