Residents begin returning to Valley of the Sun

Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 8:45am

News Release No. 56 Central Okanagan, B.C. — Residents are returning to Valley of the Sun after the evacuation order for the subdivision was downgraded to an evacuation alert yesterday. While orders remain in place for other affected properties in the area, it is expected that all evacuated residents will be able to return to their properties by the weekend.

“We are close to bringing people safely home thanks to the hard work of Firefighters of the North Westside Fire Rescue and the men and women from the Fire Departments from around the Province,” said North Westside Fire Chief, Alex Van Bruksvoort. “It’s almost time to turn the corner, we’re almost there – and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this trying time.”

The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has assessed hazards on Westside Road between Shalal and Firwood Roads. Residents re-entering the area must enter from the south along Westside Road. Traffic control will be in place to ensure that only local traffic enters into the new alert area.

Westside Road will remain closed from Firwood to Irish Creek Roads until further assessments and mitigation work can be completed by BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Please visit www.drivebc.ca for more information.

The Rapid Damage Assessment Team completed their assessment of neighbourhoods directly impacted by the White Rock Lake Wildfire late on Sep. 1. Returning residents are reminded that they may encounter some remaining hazards on their properties.

Yesterday’s Returning Home Information Session provided residents with information about what to expect as they prepare to go back to the area. The recorded session is available at: www.youtube.com/regionaldistrict. The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has also posted information for residents returning home at www.cordemergency.ca/resources.

While recent cooler temperatures and precipitation have supported fire suppression efforts, the White Rock Lake Wildfire continues to be active and is classified as out of control by BC Wildfire.

As focus begins to shift to local-area recovery, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan has setup a dedicated recovery office. Area residents and property owners who experienced significant structural damage will be able to access resources at rdco.com/recovery, email recovery@rdco.com or call 250-469-6111.  

Find a detailed map showing properties on Order and Alert at www.cordemergency.ca/map.

Insurance

Contact your insurance provider immediately for instructions. They may require documentation, photographs or other information to process your claim.

Electrical & Food Safety

Electrical service has been restored within the evacuated arena, however, electrical lines within may have been de-energized at the request of and for the safety of emergency responders. Extended periods without electrical service may impact the availability of other services, such as water or septic depending on your source/provider, or flipped breakers.

Food in your fridge or freezer may no longer be safe to eat. Do not take any chances with the safety of your food.  The Government of British Columbia has information on Food and Water Safety for residents affected by wildfires. Interior Health advises, ‘when in doubt, throw it out’!

Telecommunications

Service providers are working to maintain service availability in the area. Please contact your provider.

Wildlife & Waste Management

The transfer station at North Westside Transfer Station is currently closed. At this time, residents returning to their homes will need to use the transfer station at Traders Cove for waste disposal. Visit rdco.com/recycle for more information on hours and directions. A fridge and freezer disposal program is being coordinated. Further details will be provided shortly.

Due to active wildfire, increased wildlife activity has been reported in the area.  Residents are reminded to secure and properly dispose of waste that may attract wildlife.

Water Quality

A Water Quality Advisory is in place until further notice for the Upper Fintry-Shalal Road-Valley of the Sun water systems.

As a precaution it’s recommended that all customers for these systems – especially those with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly – boil all water intended for drinking, making beverages or ice, washing fruit and vegetables, or brushing teeth for at least one minute.

Customers can visit rdco.com/water for current water quality conditions and updates.