The Trepanier interface fire was reported at approximately 3:00 pm on the afternoon of September 9, 2012 near the Okanagan Connector just outside of Peachland. The Regional District of the Central Okanaganís Emergency Response Plan was put into action and the Emergency Operations Centre at the main Kelowna Fire Hall on Enterprise Way was activated. Within several hours, at least 1550 people were ordered to evacuate and emergency reception centres were opened in the Districts of West Kelowna and Summerland. Due to high winds, the fire grew very quickly to over 200 hectares in size. Overnight, four houses were lost and other agricultural and residential properties were affected. At its peak, there were 70 BC Wildfire Management Firefighters, 17 structural fire apparatus, six helicopters and four water tenders fighting the fire. Fire fighting efforts allowed the fire to be 50% contained by late afternoon the next day and many residents returned to their homes. The last 234 residents were able to return home late afternoon on September 12, 2012 once the threat of remaining hot spots was addressed.
The District of Peachland opened a Recovery Centre in the District Offices on September 12, 2012 to support those residents who were affected by the fire. The Recovery Office handled queries from residents by phone, email and in-person and was able to make referrals to agencies that could assist, as well as answering general fire-related questions. As the community began to return to normal, activity levels at the Recovery Centre were reduced. The Mayor and Council, with support from community volunteers held a Community Celebration in Heritage Park on September 30 to thank emergency services workers and volunteers whose combined efforts prevented the effects of the fire from becoming much worse and to celebrate that Peachland is still the Jewel of the Okanagan.
All queries related to agency referral should now be directed to the District of Peachland, Corporate Services Department at 250-767-6055 ext. 105. Information on tree removal, demolition, building permits can be obtained from Planning and Development Services Department staff.