Okanagan Wildfire Crisis

I've been quiet in social media on the biz front because of the crisis here in the Okanagan. Most of you have probably seen what's happening, the fires here have made way around the world news this last week. 
  • A monsterous fire storm hit the Okanagan after several weeks of extreme drought and temperatures that were between 35-40 degrees Celsius for a week prior. Then a cold front came in and created heavy winds on the fires that were already burning - developing into what they call a firestorm. Most people in Canada know we have our fair share of fires over the summer here, and there were several fires burning in the area but not of grave concern because they were far away. NOTHING prepared us for this...


Taken from my kitchen window Thursday August 17th 2023 3:30PM

  • We were cautioned heavy by the local media thursday that it could get bad and by that night, things were crazy. A firewall over 15 km long swept into the municipality. Neighborhoods were being evacuated so fast - and in a few cases some people had no time and were forced to jump into the lake to escape it. The footage you can see in local and national media doesn't lie, it was like nothing I'd ever seen before and it scared the HELL out of everyone - locals and tourists:
Taken from my kitchen window August18th, 1:30am as vacationers are seen packing up below

  • Flames were 50 feet high... it moved SO fast. It was unbelievable to witness.  Then the fire leaped the lake, bringing large burning embers from trees into neighborhoods 3 km across the water - which then started several out of control fires in that area. The surrounding areas 50-100 km away in each direction also got hit heavily. From Penticton north - there are fires devastating communities - the Shuswap area in particular is being terribly affected right now - entire towns have been decimated. 
View of firestorm Thursday August 17th - photo credit CBC

  • Over 30,000 people have been evacuated and the fires are still burning and deemed to still be out of control. Officials have been doing a daily press conference with updates on what to expect day to day. Officials cant say yet when people will be able to go home or exactly how many structures have been lost so far in total- they'll have an overview of that once fighting the fires is not the top priority. But we've seen some helicopter footage on social and today they said that in the area of the city I'm in - so far they say at least 50 structures have been lost but it doesn't include Wilden, Lake Country or Shuswap. 
Lake Okanagan Resort - photo courtesy Castanet.net

  • We currently have the worst air quality on earth, 73 times higher than the WHO guidelines. Today I had to go out to do errands and within a half hour I felt sick, nose running like a tap, throat hurts, eyes burn and headache started. 
Air quality downtown Kelowna - photo credit Castanet.net

  • It's been a harrowing four days and the Okanagan is in rough shape. The demand on the evacuation centres has been challenging but locals have stepped up huge with donations, grocery, warm meals and accomodations. The province declared a state of emergency and requested all tourists leave so accomodation facilities open up for evacuees and fire personnel. 
Provincial State of Emergency - photo credit Government of British Columbia

  • I was one of the lucky few in west Kelowna that didn't get evacuated but my thoughts and energy can't help but be focused on our many neighbors and friends who are either evacuated and have no idea if their home is still standing  - or who know now for certain they have lost their homes.
Evacuees in line for supplies and food - photo credit Kelowna Cap News

  • There are currently over 500 fire fighters from all over the country along with national assistance from the Canadian Forces and Coast Guard - the collaboration is inspiring to witness. The people of the Okanagan are so grateful for their heroic work and tireless dedication to getting things inder control. 

  • So.... you'll find me quiet on social for the next while as we help out our friends and clients in our real estate business get through this. There's links in my below if you want to help in any way as well.
Peace and love, Leesa