More evacuation orders lift around White Rock Lake fire

More evac orders lifted

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.

More evacuation orders lifted Friday afternoon at the White Rock Lake fire.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has lifted orders on Six Mile Creek Road and Siwash Road and placed them on alert. A full list of impacted addresses and a map is here.

The Okanagan Indian Band also partially lifted orders in the area, allowing residents of north of Mudhole Road to return home.

The evacuation order remains in place for all addresses south of the Mudhole Road to the southern area of IR 1, including Whiteman’s Creek, Lawrence Beach, Parker Cove remains in place until further notice.

“Our goal is to get you back into your homes as soon as is declared safe to do so. Parker Cove is located close to the heart of the fire zone and we need to assess and removed dangerous trees in the area,” OKIB said in a news release.

“The water supply must be tested. In addition, the weather forecast calls for some hot days next week. For these reasons and based on the advice of BCWS, the area remains under evacuation order.”

A do-not consume order is in place for the Six Mile/Bradley Creek water system.

Westside Road remains closed south of Parker Cove.

In the Central Okanagan part of the fire zone, the regional district said they are now moving into the recovery phase.

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan has setup a dedicated recovery office for returning area residents and property owners who experienced significant structural damage. Information and resources, including the Returning Home Information guide, are available at www.rdco.com/recovery. Starting Tuesday, residents can email [email protected] or call 250-469-6111.

The North Westside Transfer Station will be open daily at 8 am (until noon) starting Saturday, Sept 4. There will be no limit on the volume of household waste impacted households can dispose at this time.

For fridge and freezer collection, please call 1-855-238-9350 to book a pick up or inquire about self-drop off options.

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's danger tree assessment for Westside Road is complete and the contractor is actively removing potential danger trees.

“We continue to work closely with the local jurisdictions on co-ordinating the opening of Westside Road and the safe return of residents to the area as quickly as possible,” a statement from the ministry said.

“We anticipate this work will be completed over the next several days.”

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

Evacuation Alerts due to the White Rock Lake wildfire have been removed for properties from Caesars Landing to Fintry.

Eighteen properties on Bouleau Lake Road remain under evacuation order, however.

A total of 2,259 properties from Estamont, Ewings Landing, Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates do remain under alert. Residents in this area should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

The public is asked to stay off Westside Road and out of the area to ensure access for emergency responders and local residents. Area residents must access their properties from the south along Westside Road as the north end of the road remains closed.

Residents are reminded to be cautious of potential hazards in the area. Watch for wildlife, hazard trees and debris on roads.

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service reminds returning evacuees that there are still "extreme dangers" in the White Rock Lake wildfire zone.

An area restriction is in effect, and no backcountry access or hunting is permitted within the fire area.

The restriction is to provide for the safety and security of wildland firefighters as well as the general public, the wildfire service says.

"There are extreme dangers within the wildfire perimeter like ash pits, falling trees, falling rocks, unstable slopes, burnt over roads," BCWS said Friday, as the majority of Westside residents are expected to return home this weekend now that the fire is held.

Conservations officers are regularly patrolling the area restriction, and fines will be given out to anyone found accessing the area.

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

The Okanagan Indian Band advises members returning to their homes on the Westside that it has return-home packages available for pick up.

The Red Cross packages are available at the Head of the Lake Hall.

They include cleaning products and useful items that residents may need, such as a broom, brush, sponges, cleaners, gloves, safety glasses, garbage bags and more.

UPDATE: 9:55 a.m.

A drone is being flown in the North Westside today as part of an aerial assessment of the White Rock Lake wildfire now that it has been declared held.

That means the fire is no longer expected to grow beyond its current boundaries.

Residents are returning to Ewings Landing, Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates after the evacuation orders for those neighbourhoods were rescinded Thursday. An evacuation order remains in place for 18 properties on Bouleau Lake Road, however.

Returning residents must enter from the south along Westside Road as the north end of the road remains closed.

Non-residents should avoid using Westside Road between Firwood Road and Irish Creek Road. There is no access to Parker Cove, the Central Okanagan Regional District advises.

The North Westside transfer station will be open daily from 8 a.m. to noon starting Saturday until the end of the month. There will be no limit on the volume of household waste impacted households can dispose of.

Returning residents are reminded to stay out of the backcountry as an area restriction is in effect for all Crown lands in in the vicinity of the wildfire.

Before returning home, residents should consult the Re-Entry Checklist and other important information in the Returning Home Guide available at regionaldistrict.com/recovery.

Residents should bring bottled water with them. As a result of wildfire damage, a do not consume notice is in place for Killiney Beach, and a water quality advisory is in place for the Upper Fintry-Shalal Road-Valley of the Sun water systems.

Curbside pick-up of ruined fridges and freezers is available during the first week after evacuation orders lift. Call 1-855-238-9350 to schedule.

Telus crews have fully restored wireless services in the area.

Additional security is in place in fire impacted zones to support the return of residents to their neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, the BC Wildfire Service says the east flank of the fire is now on patrol status with crews extinguishing remaining hot spots.

Complete containment and mop of an excursion on the Irish Creek north flank is expected by Sunday. Crews are monitoring Ewer Creek and the Irish guard at the top of Six Mile. A burn plan will be implemented only if needed.

In the northwest, crews are expected to extinguish all scanned hot spots north of Highway 97 and the western perimeter south of Highway 97 by Sept 7.

On the west flank, crews continue hotspotting from scan data and mop up from Tiger Road to Monte Pratt, Douglas Lake Road to Monte Pratt, and Highway 97B to Torch Road over the next several days.

Aerial resources continue to monitor the south flank of the fire.

ORIGINAL: 9:05 a.m.

With the White Rock Lake wildfire now held and many Westside residents returning home this weekend, considerable work remains to completely suppress the fire.

The BC Wildfire Service said Thursday the fire is no longer expected to spread beyond its current containment lines, prompting a collective sigh of relief for residents across a broad region.

The fire has burned 83,342 hectares in an area from the North Westside of Okanagan Lake, south to almost Fintry, west across the Douglas Lake Ranch and northwest past Monte Lake.

It destroyed or damaged homes on the Westside and in Monte Lake.

"Over the last 52 days, firefighters and support personnel from around the world have maintained response efforts on the White Rock Lake wildfire. Managing a wildfire of this size and complexity requires the skill and knowledge of many people," the wildfire service says.

"Considerable work remains on the White Rock Lake wildfire to completely suppress it. The BC Wildfire Service will remain engaged in wildfire suppression efforts until there is no risk of impact to public health, critical infrastructure, property, or environmental, economic and social values."

At its peak, the fire camp at Kin Racetrack in Vernon housed more than 500 firefighters and support personnel.

Meanwhile, the Regional District of Central Okanagan has issued a do not consume notice for returning residents served by the Killiney Beach water system, as it was damaged by the fire.

The notice affects more than 280 properties serviced in the Killiney Beach subdivision off Westside Road.

RDCO and Interior Health recommend that residents find a safe alternative. Boiling the water will not make it safe.

The water should not be used for drinking, making beverages, brushing teeth or food preparation.

More Vernon News