Oliver & Osoyoos  

South Okanagan ESS teams lending a hand in the Fort Nelson evacuation effort

Local ESS assist evacuees

South Okanagan emergency support service teams have been lending a hand to evacuees affected by the Fort Nelson wildfire.

Over the long weekend, Oliver's ESS team assisted over 500 evacuees, and Penticton and Summerland ESS teams coordinated support of about 400 evacuees of the Parker Lake wildfire.

Those emergency groups remotely supported evacuee extensions, providing resources like accommodations and food.

“Over the long weekend, City of Penticton, Town of Oliver, and District of Summerland ESS teams worked together to help extend ESS supports for evacuees as they were still out of their homes due to the wildfire,“ reads an emailed statement from Oliver ESS.

“Early last week Penticton's ESS team virtually supported evacuees registering for ESS supports after they were initially evacuated due to the wildfire.”

Since May 15, teams have been remotely boosting evacuee efforts at reception centres in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and Prince George.

"Up north, the evacuees are staying in hotels/motels, in camps, in their own travel vehicle (e.g., RV), and with family/friends," said Adam Goodwin, emergency program coordinator for the Town of Oliver, in an email.

"Given that there were nearly 4,000 evacuees from this wildfire, the new [Evacuee Registration and Assistance] software allowed the ESS teams to support northern ESS colleagues to provide evacuees with emergency accommodations and food much more quickly."

Goodwin added that the digital ERA tool helped mobilize resources to thousands of people quickly during the large-scale evacuation.

"This is an example of the tremendous ESS teams and volunteers in the South Okanagan and Similkameen valleys that continually help out evacuees from across the province season after season - kudos to the 15 or so ESS volunteers from our valley who were able to help out Fort Nelson evacuees this past weekend."

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