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An aerial assessment this morning of the Trepanier forest fire Evacuation Area has revealed it is not safe enough for any more people to return to their homes.

 

It’s anticipated that the earliest any change might be made to the Evacuation Order for residents within the District of Peachland is later this afternoon.

 

The air scan for hotspots has found at least 65 areas of concern in backyards and close to homes throughout the Evacuation Area, including the Coldham Road area in Peachland.  It’s simply not safe enough yet for people to go home.

 

Now that these hot spots have been identified, fire crews and equipment will be taking steps today to make them safe so that residents will be able to return home as soon as possible.

 

Hazard assessment and identification work is continuing throughout the Evacuation Area.

 

As a result of the aerial assessment, there will not be any change today in the Evacuation status for approximately 17 property owners in the Regional District of Central Okanagan Central Okanagan West Electoral Area.   This includes Star Place and addresses along upper Trepanier Road.

 

As the Evacuation Order remains in effect for approximately 258 people, all residents that are still on Evacuation within Peachland and the Regional District must report in person to the Emergency Support Services reception centre at the Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street in West Kelowna so that they can reaffirm their registration in order to continue to receive food, accommodation and clothing assistance.

 

A detailed map showing the updated status of the Evacuation Order and Evacuation Alert areas is available at www.cordemergency.ca.

 

The District of Peachland has opened a Recovery Office to support Peachland residents who have been affected by the Trepanier Forest Fire. The office is located in the Peachland Municipal office, 5806 Beach Avenue and is open weekdays 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Residents with questions or need assistance should email firerecovery@peachland.ca or call 250-767-6055, Extension 120.

 

BC Hydro advises there may be intermittent electrical outages today as its crews continue to make repairs to the electrical system in the aftermath of the forest fire.

 

As crews continue to work within the fire Evacuation Area, it remains closed to all people and for safety reasons all people should stay out of this area.  RCMP continue staffing checkpoints and patrols through the closed area.

 

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:

 

 www.pep.bc.ca/floods/docs/recoveryguide.pdf

 

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:

 

www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/EmergencyPreparedness

 

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.

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