After being forced to camp overnight next to Power Street, Okanagan visitors pack up their tent in the morning. Steve Kidd/Western News

Campers find refuge at Penticton community centre

Campers evacuated from Okanagan Lake Provincial Park

A group of families is going to have a story to tell about their trip to the Okanagan.

Young Seung and his family, along with friends, ended up spending last night camped on a narrow strip of grass bordering the Penticton Community Centre.

They were evacuated last night from Okanagan Lake Provincial Park campground, due to the Mount Eneas wildfire. Seung said they left at about 9 p.m. after the park manager came around to warn them of the danger.

“We started packing up the stuff and left,” said Seung. “Kind of scary because of the smoke, just in front of our site. Across the street, we saw exactly the fire and the smoke. It was very close.”

Related: Breaking: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

Seung said they tried to several places to find a campsite before they got to the Emergency Social Services Reception centre, located in the Penticton Community Centre.

“We stopped by several places, but they were closed already after 11,” said Seung. Staff at the reception centre registered them and suggested they set up camp on the narrow strip of grass between the parking lot and Power Street.

“We just settled down here for the night. It was not too bad,” said Seung. While the road noise may not have bothered them, they did get a shock at 4 a.m. when the sprinklers turned on.

“I thought the heavy rains came,” Seung said, laughing. “We came out and it’s all wet.”

Erick Thompson, information officer for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said it is a fluid situation at the ESS reception centre, with 43 properties under an evacuation order.

“What we are saying to folks that are on evacuation order right now is that they should plan to be out for two to three days,” he said.

A total of 43 properties have been safely evacuated due to the Mount Eneas wildfire in the vicinity of Callan Road, Hwy 97 and North Beach Road to the north of the District of Summerland.

Highway 97 is open to single lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort between Peachland and Summerland due to the Mount Eneas wildfire. Expect delays between 1-2 hours, and road closures on short notice. Alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3.

More information is available at DriveBC and at the RDOS website, rdos.bc.ca.

As a precaution, the KVR Trail from Bathville Road in Summerland to Kettle Place in Faulder, is closed effective immediately. The KVR Trail between Little Tunnel and Chute Lake is also closed until further notice.

Related: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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