Merritt’s emergency operations centre is at 1950 Mammette Avenue. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)

Merritt’s emergency operations centre is at 1950 Mammette Avenue. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)

‘We’re fortunate we can help’: Merritt’s open doors welcome wildfire evacuees

Merritt offers space for wildfire victims, their cattle and livestock

The City of Merritt has seen 139 Lytton residents come through their doors.

Merritt’s emergency operations centre information officer Greg Lowis said that’s how many have officially registered at the commercial and group lodgings, as well as campsites that were set up after the village went up in flames.

He said there are a few residents who are currently still staying in Merritt, while others have gone on to stay with friends and family elsewhere.

“At the moment, our commercial lodging is pretty much full, but we still have room in our group lodgings,” Lowis said.

He added he’s extremely grateful for the generosity of Merritt residents, as well as others from communities throughout the province.

“It is absolutely heartwarming to see people just pouring out everything they have but to be completely honest, we do not have the physical capacity to handle the physical donations at this time.

“We are completely swamped. We are accepting gift cards and cash, which we can use to actually provide for people’s immediate needs,” Lowis said.

Those interested in donating to wildfire victims should keep in mind that people fleeing their homes in a rush don’t have the ability to carry much with them as they seek shelter.

With more wildfires sparking and more evacuation orders coming, Lowis said they will keep their lodgings open to receive as many people as possible.

“We are anticipating more people but of course, there are other major centres in Kamloops and Kelowna that people also choose to go to or get to first.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who is directly affected by the wildfires… we are incredibly fortunate in Merritt that we are not under any threat at this point in time. We’re just glad to provide assistance to people who are.”

READ MORE: Evacuation order issued for Durand Lake area due to nearby fires


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twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021

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