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Safe haven for animals evacuated from nearby wildfires set up at North Okanagan ranch

Two dozen volunteers came to the aid of evacuated animals from area wildfires Thursday, July 29.

The North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association (NOTRA) put a call out for help after learning 100 sheep and a dozen horses would be brought to the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen after ordered evacuations.

In the heat and smoke, the 25-plus volunteers help build temporary paddocks, fill water troughs, muck, feed animals and fix posts and rails.

In a message of gratitude to all those who lent a helping hand, NOTRA said now evacuated animals will have a safe haven to stay.

“The outpour of community support has been absolutely amazing and overwhelming,” said NOTRA program director Alycia Butler. “We’re so lucky to live in such a caring community.”

Now, the NOTRA area has 14 paddocks, but only three have tarped shelters, Butler said.

“If anyone has some spare large tarps or portable shelters, or plywood and posts, we could really use some help with adding shelters to the structures,” she said. “It will be really hot for the horses without them.”

Donations of hay, grain, salt, mineral blocks and fly spray are also needed.

“We managed to get everything set up for the animals yesterday,” Butler said. “The O’Keefe Ranch will have the bigger job of taking people in now.”

Butler said ranch staff will have to register individuals and their animals as they come in which will be quite an undertaking.

The O’Keefe Ranch announced July 20 it would be accepting evacuees who need somewhere to camp.

Those with valid evacuee paperwork and camping gear can call the O’Keefe Ranch at 250-542-7868 or reach out on Facebook if in need of someplace to stay.

Anyone in need of NOTRA’s facilities due to wildfire evacuation orders can contact 250-549-0105 or by email at

READ MORE: Showers in forecast for some B.C. wildfires, but lightning also possible

READ MORE: Smoke from fire near Westwold affecting hydro lines: BC Wildfire Services


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Caitlin Clow

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Caitlin Clow

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