KAMLOOPS — The unprecedented wildfire season is the biggest on record in B.C. with 1.061 million hectares burned. The wildfires forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and also forced Interior Health to welcome evacuee patients who were transferred to Kamloops.
Interior Health says 20 evacuees were treated at Royal Inland Hospital, including 16 from 100 Mile House. Ponderosa housed 66 residential care patients and welcomed another 14 patients who were initially staying at evacuation centres in Kamloops.
According to the health authority, Overlander Residential Care also hosted 13 patients from affected Interior communities during the peak of the fire activity.
On Monday, new B.C. health minister Adrian Dix was in Kamloops to thank the health care workers who went above and beyond to help evacuees in need.
"Health care workers did an extraordinary thing, really some heroic things in the period of the wildfires," said Dix. "From care-aids to the staff who did extraordinary things to open up the third floor at Ponderosa. Doctors, nurses, administrative staff. I'm just so proud of the people who work for Interior Health here in Kamloops."
During his visits to Ponderosa and Royal Inland Hospital, Dix heard some touching stories of people sacrificing everything to help the evacuees receive the care they needed.
"Met someone who was going to his father's funeral and turned around and came back to help," noted Dix. "People here at Ponderosa find out 14 hours before the first residents arrived that they were coming, and setting up the third floor, which hadn't been used for some time, at least not with that many patients."
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