We are no longer in Kelowna, we self evacuated!

My last post was full of Thursday photos. I just found this one, scary scary sky. Who knew what that night would bring?

Tok close for comfort

Thursday night was wild and homes were destroyed – we don’t know how many yet. However homes were destroyed yesterday the 18th and also today the 19th.

I am fairly certain that most of you have read about the fires in British Columbia and now particularly in Kelowna, BC. You only have to read or listen to the news. Thursday night was hell on earth for firefighters.  At least four ( have heard up to six but can’t confirm that ) started from the Friday night fires via hot embers flying across Lake Okanagan – yes huge big lake. One of our neighbours  knocked on our door early yesterday ( Friday ) morning to tell us that they and their families were leaving Holiday Park. One of the fathers friends had just had a hot ember land on their roof and their home was on fire. The house is only 4KM away from our place. That got us thinking.

Friday morning ash in the outdoor dog dish.

First three fires spotted early Friday by the 3 read dots in the middle of the photo. Our park is to the right of that grey HWY 97 line.


So we began to slowly pack and make piles of things to go to the RV. I was constantly checking the computer for updates. We could see the highway from our home and it was bumper to bumper heading east ( had been all of Thursday night as the evacuation orders were put in force ) and ever so slow. Where could we go? Spoke with another neighbour who suggested heading west out of the park to Highway 33 heading south and then turn east on Highway 3 ( Crowsnest Hwy) where the communities of Rock Creek, Kettle River and Midway were. Turns out that this area had become a haven for fire evacuees. Was a 75 mile drive for us but due to the extremely curvy roads it took about 2.5 hours.

Before I continue I want to let you know how difficult this is to write. How difficult to leave our home and all our beautiful possessions, etc. I had to work very hard at not breaking down. Such difficult decisions to make as to what to take and what not to take. Everything I left behind, I knew that I may never see it again ( and still might not ). As it was we forgot a few things like dog ramps and dog fencing and certain food items. Lots of pasta but no sauce. The fresh wild sockeye salmon that I just had purchased but no marinade ingredients, nor rice nor potatoes. We do have tons of tomatoes and way too many zucchini. We won’t starve. I packed all the chocolate and as much white wine as I could. What I am trying to tell you is that this post is likely going to be all over the place. Much to difficult to keep things in chronological order but I will do my best. Many of you have been asking the Que Pasa of what is happening do I finally force myself sit down to write this post. Thank you to all of you who called, emailed, texted, etc. Special thanks to a few of you who helped by looking up locations, maps and finding us a palace to stay in an RV Park. Special thanks to Al of the Bayfield Bunch back in Ontario who reached out to someone, Barb M. in the Vernon area ( I am so sorry that I have not got back to you yet – but I will ) to help us find a place to stay. Friends all over BC, Alberta ( and other parts of Canada ) and the USA and many from Mexico. Your messages truly helped get us through the difficult hours.

I feel for a friend who has been evacuated two days in a row. Even worse, it was twenty years ago yesterday to the day that she lost her home to the 2003 fire and was now in the same shopping mall (as 20 years ago) camping out. Sorry I have not reached out but please know that we care. Special thanks to a dear friend who is sending me any mention of our home area in the news. She urged us to leave ( her fiancé is a firefighter captain ). She is alone with her son and worried not just for herself, but for him. So many of you reaching out.

I already getting ahead of myself. Hope you can figure it all out..

As we left this was the fire that was so very very close to us.

Finally as we were about to drive away, helicopters arrived and were using our lake to get water to drop on the ever so close fire. The RV was full almost to the roof, everything had simply been tossed inside. Barely any place to walk but finally we were ready to roll. Lots of time to put things away later. Safety first, get out of the area.

Good thing we were heading west as this was the bumper to bumper slow moving traffic moving east hat we had seen all day.

We left Holiday Park at 2:45 PM Friday the18th afternoon. We loaded the golf cart which Colin took and unload into the RV and then came back to the house. We loaded the Jeep  which I thought I was going to drive behind the RV but Colin wanted us to be together so we hooked it up. However Colin could not find the tow bars and had to go back to the house. By the way we left the power on but shut off the water and the propane. I also tied a red ribbon to the door and taped a note to the door window saying that we had left and about the propane and water. I didn’t want to ruin two freezers full of things that I had already begun to purchase for trip to Mexico. Hard to believe that we are leaving in seven weeks. We had also loaded my car and we put all of that into the RV and unloaded stuff from the RV that we did not need into the Lexus which now sits in the RV storage site. It was cold here this morning so I wish we had kept our Mr. Buddy,  We went from sweltering temps (to us), to a cool 69F.

See I how I get distracted. Finally on the road. Good thing we were going west. Traffic not so bad. Lots of vehicles lined up around the block trying to get fuel. Drove south on HWY 33, and then east on Hwy 3. My good friend Joanne found us the last RV site here at the Kettle River RV Park on Hwy 3. We only got this RV site because someone had to cancel. They cancelled because they lost their home to fire Thursday night, so very very sad. It truly is a lovely place but I really wish that the original folks had been able to come. Much smokier today that when we arrived 24 hours ago. Colin spent well and I tossed and turned. However it was black dark and as quiet as possible and so cool that it was lovely.

Site 29 here at the Kettle River RV Park.  As you can see smokey but not as bad as back home.

By end of day Friday ( the day we left ) this was the evacuation map. Red was evacuation where the fired had begun and yellow was the be ready to leave at a moments notice line. We live where it says Duck Lake 7 and below to the Ellison Lake which our site is on. The yellow/orange line is along Hwy 97. We turn right off of that highway to get to our RV Park.

Taken from Holiday Park just before 9PM Friday.

Photo taken Friday night from Holiday Park.

Taken by our neighbour Karen last night about 9:30pm ( Friday the day we left ). You might recognize that this is where I stand for my sunset photos. I am so glad we left, not sure that I could have watched this last night.

Yesterday, Friday evening. We live on the cusp of Kelowna/Lake Country. So glad we decided to leave. Still a very difficult decision.

The province of BC is literally on fire. We are in the middle of the “WILDFIRE OF NOTE SYMBOLS “.

To help with the above photo.

Too close for comfort. That orange line along Hwy 97 has changed from orange to RED this afternoon. Interpretation means to the left of the red line is evacuate and to the right of the line you are safe. We live on the right which is much too close for comfort for us.

Apparently seven water bombers worked for hours today on “our” fire ( the one closet to us ). That was wonderful news. But care homes are being evacuated. So many people/organizitons and restaurants are offering to help and are donating. The community is striving to work together. But what is happening in this world of ours? Hawaiian fires, next flooding in California and Arizona and BC on fire and the entire city of Whitehorse, NWT being evacuate, the entire city 😮

So many heart warming posts on the media.

35,000 homes evacuated. Meanwhile new fires continue in Oliver, Penticton and the Shuswap and I don’t where else. many RCMP ( police ) have been flown from other parts of BC to assist. Various communities have sent not only firefighters but also fire trucks to assist.

Thanks for reading thus far, if you have. It took over four hours to get this post written. I really hope in my heart of hearts that I wake up to a better day.






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21 thoughts on “We are no longer in Kelowna, we self evacuated!

  1. Lucy. says:

    Contessa & Colin, glad U guys are safe next to the girls; the whole situation is so very sad. Blessings from Southern California. I just can’t help by tearing while I’m reading your notes 😰😰😰😰😰😰😰.

  2. Carole says:

    Hi Contessa and Colin, I’ve never commented before but I just have to tell you I am thinking of you both.
    I live in Victoria Australia to the east of Melbourne in the hills area and we have had to go through this a few times. I know how scary it is. Please stay safe and look after those girls of yours. I wish you both well and all other people that are suffering. Have been to Canada a few times [and your area] and never thought I would see this happen to such a beautiful place. Take care, thinking of you.

  3. Nancy Beglaw says:

    Glad you are all safe. It was excruciating to read your post and feel your sadness for your whole community. My brother, sister-in-law and their family live in Coldstream. So stressful for everyone. We feel your worry. You are in our thoughts. Hugs to you all.

  4. Deb says:

    We are keeping you and the people of BC in our thoughts, hoping for the best. It was a difficult post to read and yet I believe reading it was much easier than writing it. Often times it is therapeutic to put pen to paper, so to speak, and let the emotions flow out. It seems to have a calming effect and allows us a small respite of sorts. Keep writing Contessa, even if you don’t post it, it may help you.

  5. SandyM says:

    My heart aches for your family and all of BC. The horror of watching those fires is just beyond my comprehension; even reading about them is almost beyond understanding. Asking our Good Lord to send rain to BC and comfort to the people of BC and all of Canada.

  6. Cindy says:

    Glad you got out too! Yes was scary but the fire fighters did an amazing job! Also the ones who stayed in the park keeping us updated. We are heading home this morning (Sunday august 20) as it seems better at home!

  7. Catheline says:

    God bless, sending only positive prayers…

  8. Sandie says:

    My heart is broken and the tears are falling for you and everyone in the paths of destruction. I am so very grateful that you wrote this post to let all of us who love you know that for now you are safe. My prayers are with you and hope for your home. Bless all those firefighters who never give up and do everything they can.

  9. Jim and Barb says:

    Yikes, that is scary! Having never been in that situation we have no idea what emotions you are experiencing. Best of luck with the winds and fires.

  10. Colleen Jane Walsh says:

    I am really glad to hear that you took all of you to safety.
    I have been very worried about you but didn’t want to add to your stress by sharing mine with you.
    Stay safe.

  11. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to leave but so glad you did. Stuff, in the end is just stuff and can be replaced.

    My heart breaks and my eyes are leaking, extremely happy you are safe.

  12. Karol Zunino-Clamp says:

    Hi Contessa & Colin,

    I have been following you and one day hope to catch up to you in person. I really miss Mexico and the fun times we had so long ago.
    This fire is so close and has to be so scary for you and others. I hope they are able to contain the fire and you are able to come home soon.
    Such crazy weather all over the place.

    A little bit about what I have been up to. I am in San Diego 98% of the time taking care of my 98 year old mother. She is doing well ….. totally amazing. I have a home in Venice, FL for the past 10+ years. I’m just not able to visit much. Also my son, his wife and 6 children will be retiring from the Army to Florida in April. He is going into cyber security. I hope to bring my mother out there so I can spend more time with my grandchildren.

    Stay safe,
    Karol Zunino

  13. Janet Ashworth says:

    A very difficult decision to make, you made the right one. Better to leave on your own terms than being forced into a panic departure, you have found a lovely spot, do the best you can to cope, unfortunately it will be up to the brave firefighters and Mother Nature to decide what happens in the days ahead. British Columbians are thanking all the folks who are working to feed, accommodate evacuees, help with animals, and our brave men and women who are working tirelessly to save homes and businesses.

  14. I am in mid central Oregon, u can always park in my driveway… So very alarmed when heard about yr area
    I know it is beyond distressing… Hope u are all safe and well

  15. Oh my goodness Contessa and Colin. You guys are having such a stressful time and I do hope things will be ok at your home. Of course you did the right decision of leaving but not knowing must be awful, too. Thanks for taking the time to keep all of us in the loop of what is happening at a more personal level. Stay safe!

  16. jim Davis says:

    Contessa, I don’t know what to say other than I am so so sorry for what has happened to you & Colin. This is just awful, that said, I am glad you are all safe. We have several fires burning here in the Spokane area but nothing like what is happening in BC. Take care.

  17. Linda and Russell says:

    Sending prayers for your safety and all those affected by the fires. Material things can be replaced. You made the right decision to evacuate. Stay safe❤️

  18. Genie DeLauro says:

    Contessa and Colin: There are no words that can describe what you are going through. It is so horrible and to leave your home in such a manner, it’s incomprehensible! I wish you safe travels and know you both are in our thoughts. We send lots of love and big hugs, and, hopefully, your home will be spared. We are following the news reports. It is insane! Take care my friends❤️🌹. Talk soon.

  19. Lucy. says:

    Contessa & Colin, while writing this comment tonight I’m hoping U all 4 are spending this time in a serene & fire-free environment. We here in Southern California are going thru all sort of calamities, strong winds, fallen trees, flash floods & @ 5.1 earthquake to complete the scenery. We couldn’t ask for more, eh ?! My regards: Lucy.

  20. Pauline Watson says:

    Sending you our prayers, God Bless.

  21. Susie says:

    So scary Thinking of everyone that has been evacuated .Stay safe. Hugs to you both and the girls..

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