The Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre advises that there will be no further anticipated changes in the Evacuation Order and Alert areas until mid-morning tomorrow at the earliest.
This is based on the need to ensure public safety and that all areas are safe before allowing residents to re-enter.
Local government staff has been and are continuing an extensive effort to identify and where possible remove hazards that could threaten the safety of residents. Among these hazards are dangerous trees, falling limbs and ground threats (unexpected holes) as well as ensuring infrastructure (electricity) is intact. There have also been small isolated active fires identified in the Evacuation area.
Emergency Operation Centre staff are consulting with and constantly reviewing conditions from the field and are working with Incident Commanders to provide guidance on when conditions are safe for residents to return to their homes.
The EOC recognizes the inconvenience faced by the estimated 258 evacuated residents and their families. There have not been any reported incidents of injuries so far from either first responders or the public. This is in line with the BC Emergency Management Program which makes safety the top priority. Everyone involved in the response to the Trepanier forest fire wants to keep that record intact.
It’s anticipated an update on the status of the Evacuation Order and Alerts will be available later tomorrow morning.
Evacuated residents may receive assistance with food, lodging and clothing by visiting the Emergency Support Services reception centre at the Westbank Lions Community Hall, 2466 Main Street in West Kelowna. ESS will be available until 6:00 pm this evening and will re-open at 9:00 am Wednesday morning.
A comprehensive map of Evacuation Order and Evacuation Alert areas is available on www.cordemergency.ca .
A total of 1,292 people are still on an Evacuation Alert.
BC Hydro continues to work in the fire zone removing hazard trees and replacing several poles damaged as a result of the fire. Power may be off for residents in the Coldham Road and Trepanier Road area, from Upton and Trepanier to end of Trepanier past Hwy 97C, until approximately 9:00 p.m. tonight for repairs to the electrical infrastructure.
The District of Peachland will be in setting up a Recovery Office to support residents who have been affected by the Trepanier Forest Fire. Contact information and further details will be provided on Wednesday.
Information for Residents on Evacuation Alert
Those returning to the area are reminded that hazardous conditions may still exist on private properties. The public is requested to stay out of fire-affected areas for their own safety.
The Emergency Management BC’s website provides some important information for those returning to their homes after an evacuation. The booklet One Step at a Time – A Guide to Disaster Recovery can be found at:
Interior Health also provides some useful information for residents returning to their homes. It deals with exposure to smoke from forest fires, food safety, water quality and septic tanks and disposal fields and can be found on its website Emergency Preparedness page:
The Emergency Operation Centre reminds all residents that although the fire affected area may appear safe, serious hazards still remain. The hazards listed below may not represent all the hazards you may come across. Please be cautious!
· Widow Makers – are burnt trees with little or no limbs that have limited structural support and may fall silently at any time.
· Easy Bake Ovens – burning root structures that leave the surrounding ground unstable and extremely hot. The roots can burn for days and are extremely dangerous. These areas may appear as “dinosaur footprints” and must be avoided at all times.
· Falling Limbs – may occur in any area where trees have been exposed to the fire!
· Electrical Hazards – Please be aware of fallen power lines (and other utility lines) and power poles affected by the fire. Some poles may be unstable. Treat all fallen lines with extreme caution. If you come across a utility line that may be activated, contact the necessary utility company.
· Structural Hazards – Some of the homes affected by the fire may have structural hazards, fall hazards, and potentially dangerous gas pockets. Avoid private properties at all times. Standing chimneys and walls may appear to be sound. Be aware the concrete in these structures may be fragile due to excessive heat that may collapse at any time.
· General Site Safety – Emergency response personnel may be active in many of the areas you are working. Please DO NOT block access to streets.
· Wild Animals – The fire may have affected wild animals in the area. If you spot a bear, cougar, or other animal in distress, please keep your distance and contact the conservation officer service.
New information and updates on the Evacuation Orders and Alerts will be available on the Regional District Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca and updates will also be there and released to the media as soon as it becomes available. Media can contact (250) 469-8493 if needed. Public inquiries can be directed to 1-877-569-8490.