Wildfire Support Resources

Instruction Thompson Okanagan Accommodators Housing Evacuees

It is recognized that there has been a steady stream of information and direction provided to accommodation providers in efforts to support the continually evolving wildfire response in B.C. including supports for evacuees via Emergency Support Services (ESS).

As accommodation providers – your efforts are far beyond what normally would be expected and your continued support to manage through this very difficult time is extremely appreciated. Please pass along our shared appreciation to your front-line staff as well.

The Bcha Buy, Sell, Exchange Program

The following update provides important information, on behalf of the Provincial Emergency Social Services teams regarding:

  •   Update regarding referral forms at check in
  •   Changes to the Accommodation Tracker
  •   Extending Evacuee Stays
  •   Update on Room Blocks
  •   Financial Payment Processes for Hotels Supporting Evacuees
  •   Special Note for Kelowna / West Kelowna Accommodations ONLY – Aug 29th instructions

​​update Regarding Referral Forms At Check In:

  • Going forward, all evacuees checking into Thompson Okanagan tourism region accommodations must have an ESS Referral form in order to access ESS-supported accommodation. For evacuees who do not have this form, please request that they connect with their local Reception Centre to obtain the necessary paperwork in advance of staying at your property.

​accommodation Tracker (in Google Drive):

  • Dates have been added to the Tracker – up to September 25th.
  • Please continue populating your availability daily and with future availability as much as possible.
  • ESS personnel use the information in the Tracker to place evacuees requiring accommodations.
  • This spreadsheet is also used for advanced planning to identify future accommodation capacity constraints by community.
  • NOTE: For access to the drive, please contact Kelsey@bcha.com 

​extending Evacuee Stays:

  • Some evacuees are now able to return home and will be checking out of your property.
  • Other evacuees will require accommodation supports for a longer period of time.
  • An end date of August 30th was provided on the initial accommodation referrals provided.
  • Evacuees who require an extension will be provided with an ESS Referral form to present to hotels.  If the evacuee does not have this form request that they return to the Reception Centre to obtain one.
  • Currently, ESS Referral forms will not be issued to extend stays later than September 8th.
  • If it is possible to keep evacuees in their existing rooms in your property it is greatly appreciated.
  • Efforts are in progress to determine longer-term resources and processes to assist evacuees that will require substantially longer accommodation supports. Updates will be provided as this information is available.

Update On Room Blocks:

  • For a number of properties in Kamloops, Kelowna and West Kelowna, protected room blocks have been established to ensure a reserve of rooms is available for immediate use, as needed.
  • These room blocks are being managed directly by Ingrid Dilschneider in coordination with the provincial and local ESS teams.
  • Room Block extensions to Sept.8:
    • For room blocks that ended August 30th, Ingrid D. has coordinated extensions of blocked rooms in these communities until Sept. 8th

​financial Payment Processes For Hotels Supporting Evacuees:

  • Evacuees may have checked in to your properties under several different circumstances e.g. with or without the traditional ESS referral forms.
  • The following outlines steps that properties can use to now submit invoicing for payment for accommodations provided by your property.
    1. Evacuees WITH REFERRAL FORMS:  either staying with you / or have checked out.
      • Please refer to the attached is the “ESS Supplier Quick Reference.”
      • This resource outlines how to process Referral forms for evacuees that have stayed with you and for which you have a Referral form provided for their stay.
    2. Evacuees WITHOUT REFERRAL FORMS: still staying with you.
      • ​Majority of Referral forms have now been processed and provided to evacuees and hotels – if you are without a referral form for an evacuee, please contact 1-844-537-7377.
    3. Evacuees WITH NO DOCUMENTATION / REFERRAL FORMS AND entered into the “Hotel Accommodation – Wildfire Evacuee” spreadsheets: That have checked-out.
      • ​Evacuees may have been checked in with little or no ID / Credit Cards or referral forms.
      • Once the process was established – Hotels were asked to document these guests on the “Hotel Accommodation – Wildfire Evacuee” spreadsheets and submitted to ESS daily by 9 am.
      • These spreadsheets have been used to connect ESS with evacuees and to provide the necessary referral forms to evacuees and hotels.
      • The majority of Referral forms have now been processed and provided to evacuees and hotels – if you are without a referral form for an evacuee, please contact 1-844-537-7377.
      • NOTE: Any outstanding referral forms that are currently being processed will still be sent to hotels even if the referral period has ended and used by hotels to submit for financial re-imbursement from ESS.
    4. EARLY EVACUEES – NOT Entered into the “Hotel Accommodation – Wildfire Evacuee” spreadsheets: that stayed with you and have checked out AND evacuees did not have referral forms.
      • This category is specific to evacuees that may have checked-in prior to additional formalized processes being established and communicated to hotels to manage and track evacuees, and the different ways in which they were being directed by ESS to your properties (with or without referral forms).
      • Hotels are asked to summarize the following details for each evacuee stay:
        • Name of evacuee
        • Contact info
        • Date of check-in and check-out
        • # of people in room
        • # of hotel rooms
        • Room # if possible
        • Use subject line: Hotel report about early evacuees
      • Please send this information to pecc.ops9@gov.bc.ca<mailto:pecc.ops9@gov.bc.ca>
    5. Evacuees that have extended stays at your property:
      • Extension Referral forms will be issued as a new referral form and will be provided to the evacuee to give to the hotel.
      • This allows accommodations to submit invoices for the first period of the referral stay (and be paid sooner) rather than waiting for the final check-out of the evacuees once their stay has ended. Each invoice should match the Referral form valid dates.
      • See # 1 for instruction on how to submit.
      • NOTE: any extensions are anticipated to be up to Sept 8 – and may be extended further if needed.
    6. Payment for properties providing room blocks:
      • Ingrid D. has been in contact with all hotels participating in the Room Block program.
      • Hotels are to provide a summary invoice that shows the total number of rooms blocked and a breakdown of how many rooms on a daily basis were occupied versus not occupied.
      • Please also include with your submission All backup documentation (i.e. copies of individual referrals for evacuees).
      • Billing of invoices can be submitted in the ERA system or directly to EMBC_AP@gov.bc.ca | The processing of invoices will happen in a more-timely manner if submitted through the ERA system.
      • SPECIAL NOTE: For Kelowna / West Kelowna Accommodation providers only – managing Room Blocks: Please see the directions below provided for Aug 29 area evacuees.


Special Note for Kelowna / West Kelowna Accommodations ONLY – Aug 29th instructions
  • At the direction of the Provincial ESS Program – please see specific instructions sent by the BC Hotel Association to accommodation providers in the Kelowna and West Kelowna areas for Aug 29th included below: 
Distributed August 29th | Kelowna / West Kelowna Hotels: IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please be advised that some areas of Kelowna and surrounding communities have been placed on Evacuation Alert due to increased winds and deteriorating weather. IF ALERTS change to ORDERS:
    • Evacuees are being encouraged to stay with friends and family.
    • Group Lodging is being made available in Vernon and Kelowna.
  • HOTEL ACCOMMODATION – Please ensure all front desk and shift staff are aware of these changes in process.
    • As of Aug 29th – BEFORE CHECKING IN – any evacuee that wishes to check-in to hotels in the Kelowna / West Kelowna area MUST have an ESS referral form.
    • Anyone without a referral form will be expected to pay on their own and will not be reimbursed by ESS.
    • For instances where evacuees arriving with referrals and do not have ID or credit cards – please accept evacuees per the previous direction to do so.
    • Personal insurance may cover hotel expenses and evacuees may wish to confirm their coverage before staying at your property if expenses are a concern.
    • Note: Hotels may apply standard rates for any new evacuees checking in as of Aug 29th without referral forms.
    • Anyone needing ESS assistance including accommodation are to be directed to the local area ESS Reception Centres where needs will be assessed and supported.
    • For rooms being held in the “reserved room blocks” – these rooms must NOT be allocated to new evacuees arriving Aug 29 (or after), unless expressly directed by ESS staff to make the rooms available and accompanied with a referral form for the evacuee and hotel.
    • This new direction does not pertain to existing evacuees that are currently staying at your property and that still require referral forms to be processed – these forms are in progress.
    • Traditional paper referral forms and /or electronic referrals via the ERAs tool will be provided to evacuees and to hotels for arrivals on Aug. 29 (and until further notice).
    • No other forms / letters will signal permission for an evacuee to stay at your property without direct payment by the evacuee.
For more information on the changing status of alerts and orders or other information related to local area ESS – please visit The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website:  https://www.cordemergency.ca/ Thank you again for your tremendous contributions and support!

Voice Your Concerns

The BCHA’s advocacy efforts are going and is continuing to work alongside the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) to ensure that concerns and challenges experienced by operators are effectively communicated to government.

To ensure we can effectively advocate for the best interests of our members, we encourage you to share your insights and feedback on how the wildfires and travel restrictions have impacted your business through TOTA’s Voice Your Concerns form.