Aug 18 2021
KELOWNA WEST – As wildfires continue to rage in western Alberta, tourists are urged to postpone any planned visits to British Columbia’s Okanagan region.
West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is asking tourists to be alert and help free up accommodation for potential evacuees.
“We are just asking Okanagan tourists to do all they can to help those in need of hotel rooms,” he said.
“To help [us] even freeing up some of the short-term homes for those who have been or may still be evacuated.
READ MORE: ‘Don’t Go To Fire Affected Areas’: Albertans, Time To Cancel Your Trip To British Columbia
Thousands of people in West Kelowna have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the Mount Law wildfire, which spans approximately 800 hectares.
Milsom recently said that there has been some cooperation from Mother Nature, bringing cooler temperatures and light rains.
“The firefighters from BC Wildfire and our local fire department and other fire departments came together and did a great job fighting the blaze.
Some evacuation orders and alerts have been downgraded or canceled due to the progression of the fire.
British Columbia Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth on Monday urged people to avoid vacationing in places like the Okanagan, to ensure that residents of communities affected by the fires can evacuate if necessary.
“Given the conditions we see in our communities and on our highways, I want to be clear: do not travel to areas affected by fires for non-essential reasons. We want to make sure that people in communities affected by the fires can evacuate if necessary and access the supports they need, ”he said.
“If you are planning to travel to these areas, now is the time to change your plans. Instead, visit an area of the province where your presence will not strain local resources and have a positive impact, ”added the Minister of Security.
There are currently over 260 wildfires burning in the province, the majority of them in the Kamloops and Southeast fire centers.
These two regions are home to popular travel destinations, such as the Okanagan and the Kootenays.
-with files from NEWS 1130