On Saturday afternoon I walked to the Salty Carmel in Okanagan Centre. It was the perfect vantage point to watch residents as they returned home. There was cheering, vehicles honking and kids wasting no time and jumping into the lake. It was an emotional day, tears of sadness for the three homes lost, coupled with tears of happiness as friends and neighbours reconnected and returned home.  

I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to look after each other, and support our neighbours, even if we don’t know them well. Check on them, ask how they are doing – find ways to help. I’ve had conversations with neighbours who while happy to get home, have now witnessed how close the fires came. Please listen and support each other. We will rebuild our neighbourhoods and return to the Lake Country way, but everyone must be patient – it will take time.  

Tomorrow many of us will go back to our jobs, kids will enjoy the final week of summer holidays before going back to school, today please take the time to rest and reflect on how grateful we all should be.  

I asked a few days ago for everyone to support our local farmers and businesses. They need our support too. Harvest stops for no one, there is lots of great produce coming in and fewer people to buy it. (Farm Gate Trail)

Take a moment to review answers to questions you might have, to help assist you with the safe transition back. If you can’t find an answer to your question, email wildfire@lakecountry.bc.ca 

Continue to monitor the cordemergency.ca status updates. The Lake Country Wildfire is being held but it’s not under control – there are several areas still under alert, please don’t let your guard down.  

Lastly, I am proud to live in a great community with all of you. Thank you - Lake Country, for showing our best side. 

With gratitude,

Mayor Ireland

We are Lake Country.

Photo – Mayor Ireland unpacking the car once evacuation orders were rescinded in Okanagan Centre.