News Release #41 White Rock Lake Wildfire - Central Okanagan BC

Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 9:50am

Central Okanagan, B.C. — BC Wildfire Service says that the White Rock Lake Wildfire remains active and out of control with an estimated size of 82,000 hectares. Wednesday’s planned aerial ignitions removed approximately 600-hectares of fuel between the fire's edge and the pre-established control line.

“The Drought Code in this area of the fire is resulting in incredibly deep burning forest fuels making it difficult to bring this area to full extinguishment,” says Hanna Swift, BC Wildfire Information Officer. “Yesterday, planned ignitions along the southeast flank were used to secure the fire perimeter burning north of Terrace Mountain, west towards the fire perimeter above Shorts Creek.”

A 20-person unit crew remained on-site through the night to set-up a hose-lay along this control line to begin mop-up. An infrared scan will be completed Thursday which will help crews identify hot spots.

The planned ignition operation was an important piece to securing safety for residents in this area. Once mop-up is complete, the BC Wildfire Service will reassess the safety of the area and recommend changes to evacuation orders and alerts accordingly. BC Wildfire remains hopeful, barring any unforeseen weather events, residents could be returning to their homes in five to ten days.

“BC Hydro crews are making good progress along Westside Road to remove danger trees and restore power lines where required. During the wind event on August 15, there was a substantial amount of damage to power lines. Restoring damages where feasible is crucial to ensure safety for residents before they return home,” says Swift.

The Evacuation Order for 1,316 properties and Alert for 850 properties, in the North Westside communities within the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, remains unchanged. Residents can visit cordemergency.ca/map to determine if their property is on Order or Alert.

Crews have confirmed that the wildfire has directly impacted 78 properties to date and the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has contacted most Central Okanagan owners whose properties have sustained significant structural damage. Property assessment work is ongoing as conditions allow, and is subject to change as crews gain further access to affected areas.

North Westside Fire Chief Alex Van Bruksvoort said the planned ignition by BC Wildfire above Valley of the Sun was deemed a success.

“North Westside Fire Rescue will continue their patrols, extinguishing any spot fires found,” said Chief Van Bruksvoort. “We are supporting BC Hydro and all other agencies as they rebuild the infrastructure to bring as many of you home as soon as possible. Please be patient as we make your community much safer moving forward, safety within the fire area needs to be paramount, as all areas are being safeguarded.”

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre will host an online virtual information session this evening for residents and owners of properties located within the Regional District of Central Okanagan who are on evacuation order from the White Rock Lake wildfire.

The information session is intended to address questions from residents on evacuation order, but other members of the public are also invited to attend tonight:

Thursday, Aug. 26
6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Livestream via the RDCO’s YouTube channel
View at
www.youtube.com/regionaldistrict

Residents can submit questions for the panel in advance before noon today by going online. To watch the livestreamed community information session go to the RDCO YouTube channel at youtube.com/regionaldistrict.

For more information about this wildfire, visit cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates, follow the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre on facebook.com/cordemergency or twitter.com/CO_emerg or call the information line at 250-469-8490.