Information for Returning Residents for Bear Creek Fire

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 1:00pm

The Emergency Operations Centre has prepared information that might be helpful for residents returning to their homes from the Bear Creek wildfire.

Notice for Returning Residents

The Bear Creek wildfire is still an active fire.

Fire suppression continues in the area west of Westside Road. Bear Creek Forest Service Road will remain closed except for residents. Hiking trails in the area are closed as it is not safe for the public. Stay out and please do not impede firefighters or other first responders.

For information, news releases, maps and other important data on the Bear Creek wildfire, please visit the Central Okanagan Emergency program website www.cordemergency.ca .  

On returning home, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help.

Check out Emergency Management BC’s ‘One Step at a Time - Guide to Disaster Recovery’. It has useful tips about taking care of your family and re-entering your home following an evacuation.
( http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/one_step_at_a_time_guide_to_disaster_recovery.pdf )

In addition, as active fire suppression work continues throughout the area of the fire, please stay out of the way of emergency vehicles and crews. You may continue to notice visible flames and smoke rising from the fire site. Anyone with concerns about new fire activity should call 9-1-1 and report it to Regional Fire Dispatch.

You are reminded that you may encounter various hazards on private properties as a result of the forest fire. For your safety please stay out of fire-affected areas.

Utility and Electrical Services

BC Hydro has restored electrical service to the area.

The lines within the previous Evacuation area were de-energized at the request of and for the safety of emergency responders. This extended period without electrical service may also impact the availability of other services such as water or septic, depending on your source/provider.

For information about the status of electrical service and disruptions please visit the BC Hydro website at www.bchydro.com and select the Power Outages menu option.

Food Safety

As there was an extended disruption in electrical service associated with this fire, you may have concerns about food safety. Interior Health says during a power outage, food in your fridge or freezer may no longer be safe to eat. ‘When in doubt, throw it out’!

• Do not take any chances with the safety of your food. Interior Health has created specific Food and Water Safety information for residents affected by wildfires. It’s available on the Interior Health website:
www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/EmergencyPreparedness/Documents/Food%20and%20Water%20Information%20for%20Evacuees%20Returning%20after%20a%20Fire.pdf  

• More information about Food, Water Quality, Septic Systems and Fire Retardants is available at: www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/EmergencyPreparedness/Pages/Forest-Fires.aspx

Waste Transfer Station

Residents serviced by either the Traders Cove waste transfer stations can dispose of any items of concern during the following operating hours:

• The Traders Cove station is open Wednesday from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

o THIS TRANSFER STATION AT TRADERS COVE WILL ALSO BE OPEN TODAY, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24TH UNTIL 6:00 P.M. AND TOMORROW THURSDAY, AUGUST 25TH AND FRIDAY, AUGUST 26TH FROM 8:00 A.M. TO 12:OO P.M.

Potential Hazards Associated with Wildfires

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 are 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, such as 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 appropriate utility company.
• Structural Hazards, fall hazards, and potentially dangerous gas pockets may exist in some of the homes affected by the fire. 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 and may collapse at any time.
• General Site Safety as emergency response personnel may be active in many of the areas you are working. Please do not block access to streets.
• Wild Animals may have been affected by the fire. If you spot a bear, cougar, or other animal in distress, please keep your distance and contact the conservation officer service.