The Province of BC declared a Provincial State of Emergency on Friday, August 18th. The declaration allows the Province to enact emergency orders as the current wildfire situation is fast-moving and evolving rapidly.
As thousands of Okanagan residents deal with the impact of many different wildfires, we know people are looking for resources to get up-to-date information and assistance; with this in mind, links to different sites are included in this update. We have already been made aware of many UFCW members forced to evacuate their homes or put on evacuation notice.
Just before 1 a.m. Friday, a state of emergency was declared in the City of Kelowna and residents in the Clifton Road North and McKinley neighbourhoods were ordered to evacuate their homes as spot fires flared in the city.
The City of West Kelowna also declared a local state of emergency due to the McDougall Creek wildfire. There has also been "some structural loss" in West Kelowna, as reported by the news.
Thousands of properties are under evacuation orders and thousands more are under alerts. In the early afternoon, those on the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus in Kelowna were also ordered to leave.
Union President Dan Goodman was visiting members in the Okanagan this week to update our Sobeys members on bargaining and also bring attention to the International Overdose Awareness Day campaign observed on August 31st. While there, Dan was able to witness the smoke and high winds firsthand and wished to share a message with our members.
Our thoughts are with our members in Kelowna as some are on evacuation notice or on alert. Your Union has been in contact with your employers in the Okanagan to ensure that there are protocols in place if employees are impacted. We will post information they want to get out on closures or safety measures being put in place.
At this time, Loblaw members are being asked to go to their store's facebook page to get the most current information on their location. Displaced colleagues can also contact a store if they are in need of essential items and baby needs.
For the most up-to-date information for the Central Okanagan wildfire status updates please visit Central Okanagan Emergency Operations here.
The provincial government has also set up the Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool which is a new digital platform for Emergency Support Services. ERA is designed to increase the efficiency and speed of service delivery for evacuees across the province. Please visit the ERA platform here.
Additional resources and information for Emergency Evacuation and Recovery can also be found here.
During this difficult time, Emergency Reception Centres have been set up at the following locations:
· The Salvation Army, 1480 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna
· Royal LePage Place, 2760 Cameron Road, West Kelowna
· Kal Tire Place, 3445 43rd Avenue, Vernon
There are also local resource organizations that have been set up to provide support. If you are interested in sending donations in support or looking for ways you can help, please visit the Kelowna Salvation Army or Red Cross websites.
Our thoughts go out to our 247 members in the Okanagan.