Vernon is setting up a reception centre to support wildfire evacuees who come to the city.
Vernon’s emergency program coordinator Luana Kaleikini says it will be at the Salvation Army at 3303 32 Avenue starting Friday, and continuing until at least July 20, from 10 am to 2 pm daily.
“It’s another option. I spoke with the Red Cross in Kelowna today and they indicated they had had some inquiries as to whether or not they could come to Vernon,” Kaleikini said in an interview with Kiss FM.
Pictured: Vernon Salvation Army, site of Vernon’s reception centre for fire evacuees
However, she says that’s not where evacuees will stay.
“We don’t have capacity for group lodging at this point. If we have availability in hotel rooms, we’ll do that. Sometimes people have people they can stay with, and then they are able to acquire a small amount of money towards the billet that can be reimbursed by the province.”
Vernon has processed eight evacuees so far from the 100 Mile House and Ashcroft areas.
Kaleikini says Vernon has contingency plans for a group lodging facility, but they are not using it at this point.
“That’s our last resort, always.”
The reception centre can be contacted at 250-309-0638.
Evacuees may access food, clothing, lodging and incidentals, which is funded by the province.
The number of fire evacuees in BC is now estimated at 16,250 people.
Robert Turner from Emergency Management BC says all of those people are encouraged to register with the Red Cross to be eligible for financial assistance.
“By the end of today, the Red Cross expects 1,800 families will have received the $600 financial assistance package being provided by the province,” says Turner.
Turner says BC Parks’ reservations system is allowing evacuees to take advantage of empty spots in provincial campgrounds, and BC Ferries says evacuees will be able to travel for free on ferries, as long as its pre-arranged.