Animals evacuated from fire housed in Osoyoos

Animals evacuated from fire housed in Osoyoos

Tracy Oliver with ALERT takes stock of the chickens and peacocks being held at the Desert Park facility. (Dale Boyd/Osoyoos Times)

By Dale Boyd

Nine horses, two peacocks, chickens and a couple mischievous goats have been evacuated to the Desert Park Equine Facility and Racetrack in Osoyoos due to the wildfire near Oliver.

So far, the animals have been evacuated out of precaution as 41 properties were added to the list of evacuation alerts issued by the Regional District in the McKinney Road area Thursday.

“It’s just precautionary, they’re only on alert. It’s just a matter of getting the animals out in case an (evacuation) order is issued,” said Tracy Oliver, operations chief for Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT).

ALERT volunteers were on-site near the fire line evacuating the animals after property owners reached out Thursday morning. They then bring them to Desert Park and were working to catalogue the livestock. The organization is the “animal-side” of Emergency Support Services, Oliver said.

ALERT teams can sometimes do search and rescue, trapping for missing animals and managing animal death as well. So far, none of those services has been necessary.

Paddy Head, board director with the Desert Park Equine Facility and Racetrack, was working Thursday afternoon along with other Desert Park staff and volunteers to make sure the diverse group of animals had water and food and were taken care of.

“There’s two goats and they have already broken down two doors,” Head chuckled. “I now know what the expression ‘rammed’ means.”

The location is the designated area for livestock with another facility in Penticton housing domestic animals like cats and dogs.

The peacocks were rescued, ironically, from a resident in the area who had taken the somewhat exotic birds in as rescues herself according to Oliver.

The latest update on the size of the fire was 1,500 hectares in size.

For those who are in need of emergency services for animals contact ALERT at 250-809-7152 or email