The following is a public letter from Penticton mayor John Vassilaki:
Penticton is one of only two cities in the world that is situated between two lakes.
Every summer we enjoy great natural amenities and some of the hottest temperatures in Canada. And while all these features make us a fantastic year-round destination, our beautiful setting comes with the risk of fire.
This last week, we witnessed how different agencies of government can come together in an emergency to protect ourselves, families and homes when disaster strikes. We saw how residents and businesses rallied to support their neighbours and work with firefighters.
And so while this past week was filled with worry, this week I am filled with immense pride.
On behalf of Penticton city council and all our residents, we are incredibly thankful to everyone and all agencies who helped us during this challenging time. I also want to thank the media who regularly assisted our Emergency Operation Centre in getting information out, not only to our residents and businesses, but to everyone who cares about Penticton.
The response to last week’s fire was led by professional firefighters from the Penticton Fire Department and BC Wildfire Service.
Together, their coordination and quick response avoided the devastating blow that other communities have recently suffered by fires.
We collectively owe them a tremendous thanks. Also active were members of Emergency Support Services (ESS).
This critical team of volunteers sets up our reception centres and coordinates important services like transportation, temporary lodging, food, clothing and emotional support. Like many non-profits, the demand for ESS supports can quickly exceed their supply of volunteers. If you’re able and have time to help, I encourage you to take up the call to serve this important organization.
Finally, I wish to give a big thanks to everyone in the evacuation alert area who remained informed and prepared to leave. Whether as individuals or families, by planning our emergency departure in advance, we collectively contribute to our community’s overall success when responding to the real threat of fire that surrounds Penticton every summer. Thank you for getting ready…and working together to stay ready.
John Vassilaki is the mayor of Penticton.