Wildfire Stakeholder Update

As most are aware, hot, dry conditions and a large lightning storm earlier this week have contributed to wildfire activity throughout the region.

At the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), we have once again enacted our Emergency Plans and as part of this we are in direct contact with Regional Districts, BC Wildfire, Destination BC, and the Province on a daily basis and monitoring the situation closely including participating in daily briefing calls to ensure we have all of the accurate information.

Our collective Consumer marketing efforts needs to continue in a positive manner, focusing on promoting unaffected areas and product throughout the region and providing information on highways and access routes. Safety and peace of mind for our industry and of our guests is our number one priority, and our social media team is on hand to answer any questions or address concerns potential travellers may have.

While we understand these circumstances can bring negative media attention, we encourage you to remain positive in your messaging, and to use clear, accurate, and up-to-date information from official resources only. We will also continue to work with all of you on reposting your “real time” photos and we will continue to send out regular emails with updates as they become available.

First responders, emergency personnel, and volunteers are doing an incredible job and we are grateful for their tireless efforts and service to our communities and surrounding areas. We are confident as an industry that we will continue to support each other through this time, and TOTA is here to help in any way we can.

Our thoughts continue to be with those that are personally affected by the wildfires our appreciation goes out to all those who have come forward with accommodations, food and other supplies to assist those who have been evacuated as well as those with animals large and small that have also been displaced.

As of Friday morning (July 20) the following are the key updates:

  • All highways in and out of the region are now fully open. This is subject to change and we remind you to check with DriveBC for updates as they become available
  • Most of the communities in the region are reporting good weather and little or no smoke or haze
  • Evacuation orders and alerts remain in place for a number of locations in the Central /South Okanagan and can be found on the CORD and RDOS websites and will be updated on our TOTABC NewsCentre
  • There are also local state of emergencies in place in Peachland and Summerland
  • While there are numerous small fires being monitored and or attacked the two “Fires of Note” include:
    • Goode’s Creek (Okanagan Mountain Park)
      • Currently at 400 hectares
      • Fire suppression from ground and air
      • Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect
    • Eneas (Peachland)
      • Currently at 1000 hectares
      • Fire suppression from ground and air
      • Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect
    • Law Creek (West Kelowna)
      • Currently at 8 hectares
      • Fire suppression from air, difficult terrain for ground work
      • Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect
    • Mount Conkle (Summerland)
      • Currently at 90 hectares
      • Fire responding well to suppression efforts. 90% hand/machine guarded
      • Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect
    • Upper Brookside Creek (Vernon)
      • Currently at 1 hectare
    • Placer Mountain (Princeton/Cathedral park)
      • Currently at 225 hectares
      • No homes/infrastructure near by

Communication is key to the support of our communities and tourism industry stakeholder. Please let us know how you are doing, your key messaging, and how we may be able to support.  Whether you are affected by the fires and require communication on your behalf to help keep visitors safe, or whether you are unaffected and are happy to have guests sent your way, let us know so we can best help you, and your guests. We invite you to send any information you may have, photos, or updates directly to Ellen Walker-Matthews at industry@totabc.com.

There are many resources available to assist affected areas, and real-time information for those looking for updates or to best inform their guests. These can be found here:

  • The BC Wildfire Service has set up an interactive map of all active wildfires across the province. They also release the latest wildfire information on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Emergency Info BC has a provincial Twitter account with up-to-date information about current wildfires and other emergencies in BC.
  • Drive BC provides information about road closures and delays, posting updates on Twitter and website.
  • Environment Canada is the resource for latest weather information, statements, and air quality advisories.
  • The provincial website has up-to-date information about fire bans and restrictions throughout the region.
  • For a map of all affected properties in the Central Okanagan, visit CORD’s website.
  • Evacuees can register with the Red Cross by going to www.redcross.ca/gethelp or by calling 1-800-863-6582

To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.

Stay safe everyone.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn Mandziuk, President & CEO
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

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