The town of Smiths Falls is scrambling for volunteers to help with hundreds of evacuees coming from the northern Ontario wildfire zone.

Around 300 evacuees from the community of Deer Lake arrived Thursday night, with just under 200 more scheduled to arrive Friday night.

With around 24 hours to prepare, the town had to quickly prepare a team of volunteers and a place for evacuees to stay – the Rideau Regional Centre, which used to house around 2,500 people with developmental disabilities but closed in 2009.

"If it were still open I think we'd still be talking to you today about helping these folks in northern Ontario," said Smiths Falls Mayor Denis Staples.

With Smiths Falls experiencing some hard times of its own the last few years with job losses, its residents said they're ready to help.

"Actually someone at coffee told me about it, and I just came to the town and put my name in," said Sandy Nugent. "I hope they take me."

Unlike another group of evacuees who are staying at Ottawa's Algonquin College, some of those moved to Smiths Falls said the conditions could be better.

"We got cots and self-inflated mattresses," said Jamie Mekos. "They're not all that comfortable though."

"(I) don't like being cooped up in there, it's so hot," said Annie Mekos. "There's lots of fans though."

Annie said her mother is back in Deer Lake, which is surrounded by one of the 114 fires the province said has burned almost 500,000 hectares of forest and displaced over 3,000 people.

"I hope we can go back tomorrow; as soon as possible," she said. "But it's so scary knowing that our place is going to burn down."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes