Okanagan residents are invited to suggest ways to help protect sensitive grassland ecosystems in the Oliver Mountain area while also considering the interests of recreational users and ATV riders.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations hosted two open houses in Osoyoos and Oliver in March. Input was used to explore management options for minimizing the environmental impacts of recreational activities.
Off-road vehicle use has been expanding in the Okanagan, and its effects on 11 priority ecosystems and 17 federally listed species at risk are growing.
Feedback can be sent by email until Sept. 17 to: [email protected]
The long-term goal is to find a solution that will enhance the protection of Oliver Mountain ecosystems, while allowing riders to continue enjoying their sport in the South Okanagan.
Some options that were discussed at the open houses in March included:
- Encouraging ATV riders to use alternative sites (such as the well-established Bear Creek and Okanagan Falls trail systems, located nearby)
- Identifying other nearby sites on Crown land that contain less-sensitive habitat and might be suitable for such activities.
A wildfire that started three weeks ago in the Oliver area is now 80 per cent contained.
Crews have made progress on the Testalinden Creek fire, with the estimated size now at 4,375 hectares, according to fire information officer Rosalie MacAulay.
Today, fire crews are conducting a controlled burn on the northeast side to remove unburned fuel between the fire and the established guard, between Togo Creek and Reed Creek.
Because this northeast side continues to challenge crews, night operations started Thursday and are expected to continue tonight. This crew is patrolling the area to put out any hot spots outside the guard, said MacAulay.
There are currently 154 firefighters, 69 support staff, seven helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment on scene.
No homes are threatened at this time, but an evacuation alert remains in place for residents in the Fairview Road area and west of Oliver. An area closure also remains in effect for the entire fire zone.
For more information, go to the RDOS website.
A motorcyclist was injured in a collision on Highway 97 in the Kaleden area Thursday afternoon.
According to the RCMP, the 57-year-old male driver of the motorcycle was travelling north on the highway when he saw the driver of a blue Honda Civic pull out of the Petro Canada.
He locked up the brakes of his motorcyle and, realizing there was no way out, laid the bike down on its left side and slid down the highway, hitting the Honda.
The motorcyclist was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The matter continues to be under investigation, with charges pending.
At this time, speed and alcohol are not considered to be factors.
Police remind drivers to take extra care when entering into traffic and to be aware of highway speeds.
The fire Thursday night at a Penticton townhome complex remains under investigation.
Although it was rumoured to be caused by a child playing with matches, fire chief Wayne Williams said they are still looking into it.
"We have no idea of the cause at this time. It is still under investigation, until we have a chance to talk to everyone," he said.
The Penticton Fire Department responded to the fire on the top floor of a unit at the Chateau Village on South Main Street at about 6:30 p.m.
Crews did a great job, with the first crew giving it a good blast, which slowed it down, and the second crew able to get inside and totally extinguish it, said Williams.
"It could have been a whole lot worse, it could have extended to other units," he said.
The family who lived in the home all got out OK, and are in the care of Emergency Support Services.
Neighbours, surveying the damage Friday morning, said they had never seen anything like it.
"I've never been this close to a fire before. I saw massive flames coming from the top floor window very close to the tree," said Theresa Van Horn. "My brother-in-law also went and knocked on all the neighbours' doors to get them out safely.'
Van Horn is also doing her part to help out the family, who she has known for a long time.
"They basically left with just the clothes on their backs, so I went on Facebook last night and started asking for donations to help them," she said.
As of Friday morning, people were already dropping off bags of clothes on her doorstep. Van Horn said they are also in the process of setting up a GoFundMe account.
Those interested in helping can contact Van Horn at (250) 460-1551.
Penticton Police are searching for a custom built truck that was stolen from the Okanagan Marina, along Marina Way.
The grey, custom built, 1950 Chevrolet short box pickup truck with Alberta Licence Plate: BHP5393 was taken during the early morning hours of Sept. 2.
The vehicle was in restored condition with chrome trim and chrome Mag wheels.
A distinctive "chromeaholic" sticker was posted in back window of the vehicle.
At this time, police are requesting for anyone with information about the theft or the vehicle's location to contact the Penticton RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
This year is shaping up to be the busiest ever for Penticton & District Search and Rescue.
"We average 30 task days a year, and there have been more than 40 task days in 2015 so far, with another four and a half months to go," said spokesman Randy Brown.
The most significant event this summer was the search for a missing couple at Cathedral Lakes in June.
The remoteness of the area proved challenging, making for difficult access. Teams staged at the Ashnola River needed to be transported every day up the mountain to Cathedral Lakes.
The couple, Lynne Carmody and Rick Moynan of Ontario, eventually showed up after a seven-day search.
PENSAR also assisted in a massive search for a 24-year-old Winnipeg woman who went missing in early June in the bush above Peachland.
She, too, was found after a lengthy search.
Members also played a role in a two-day search of Okanagan Mountain Park in July that failed to find any evidence of possibly overdue hikers.
There were several others in recent months, with the most recent being the rescue of stranded hikers in Manning Park.
Brown urges people heading into the backcountry to prepare for the unexpected, to not rely on cellphones, carry food and water, and always tell someone where you are going.
PENSAR, which operates on a yearly budget of $60,000, is holding an open house this weekend.
An information session for people interested in joining will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday at the search and rescue hall at 251 Dawson Ave.
More information is available at Pensar.ca
UPDATED: 7:37 P.M.
The fire has now been extinguished by the Penticton Fire Department according to Jodie Conti, a resident of the Chateau Village complex.
Conti said the fire was started by a young four or five-year-old boy who lives there.
"It was the young boy's bedroom where he was playing with matches," said Conti. "I talked to the little boy ... I was actually having to console the little boy."
When the fire was first noticed, Conti's husband, Rob, ran around the complex knocking on doors to alert residents of the fire, incase the fire spread.
Fortunately, the fire crews responded quickly.
"The fire department was excellent," Jodie said.
Conti said she thought there must be damage to the unit beside the the one that caught fire, due to the intensity of the flames.
There are no reports of any injuries at this time.
ORIGINAL: 7:01 P.M.
A townhouse on South Main Street in Penticton has become fully engulfed in flames Thursday evening.
Penticton Fire Department crews arrived at the home in the Chateau Village at approximately 6:45 p.m. The townhouse complex is near Princess Margaret Secondary.
There is no word yet if other houses in the complex have been impacted.
"It's a townhouse complex so they're pretty close together, but we haven't heard any updates on it yet," said a dispatcher at the Kelowna Fire Dispatch Centre.
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