White Rock Lake Wildfire recovery update

Saturday, September 4, 2021 - 1:05pm

News release No. 61 — Central Okanagan, B.C. — Regional District of Central Okanagan staff were on site Thursday and Friday to greet residents and staff provided more than 750 Returning Home Information Guides as they re-entered the greater North Westside communities affected by the White Rock Lake Wildfire, and Central Okanagan Emergency Operations continues to assist residents as part of the recovery phase.

“Returning home after a wildfire brings a wave of varied emotions and if you need to talk to someone upon your return home, please know that you are not alone,” says Corie Griffiths, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre Director. “Remember to also keep connected with neighbours, friends or family or reach out to BC’s Mental Health Help Line at 310-6789 or call 8-1-1.”

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations staff is available to field calls. Dial 250-469-8490. Leave a message afterhours.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has setup a dedicated recovery office for returning area residents and property owners who experienced significant structural damage. Information and resources, including the Returning Home Information Guide, are available at www.rdco.com/recovery. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 7 residents can email recovery@rdco.com or call 250-469-6111.

Eighteen properties on Bouleau Lake Road remain under Evacuation Order and properties from Estamont, Ewings Landing, Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates remain under Evacuation Alert due to the White Rock Lake wildfire. No change to this status is expected over the weekend.

BC Wildfire Service says the 83,342-hectare White Rock Lake Wildfire is active but classified as being held. An Area Restriction is in effect for this fire and hunting and recreation are prohibited for the safety and security of wildland firefighters, and the general public. Find details and a map on the BC Wildfire Service website. Hazards within the area include ash pits, falling trees and rocks, unstable slopes and burnt over roads. Conservation officers are patrolling and issuing fines to anyone found accessing the area.

Waste management services

The North Westside Transfer Station will be open daily at 8 a.m. until noon. Wildfire-affected properties will have no limit on the volume of household waste until further notice. The North Westside Transfer Station can receive bagged garbage and non-burnt yard waste, but cannot take building materials, furniture, or large appliances, such as fridges and freezers.

For fridge and freezer collection, call 1-855-238-9350 to book a pick up or inquire about self-drop off options.

Hazardous material and demolition waste such as wood from damaged structures or burnt vehicles cannot be accepted. For a detailed disposal guide on how to manage your cleanup efforts visit www.rdco.com/recovery for returning home information.

Normal rates, hours and site rules remain in place for the Westside Residential Disposal and Recycling Centre at 2640 Asquith Road in West Kelowna. For more information, visit www.rdco.com/recycle.

Emergency Support Services

Emergency Support Services at 1480 Sutherland Avenue will be closed for the long weekend, from Sept. 4 through 6, reopening Tuesday, Sept. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. Evacuated residents requiring support services may call 250-469-8512, leave a message and a volunteer will call back.

Westside Road closure

The general public should stay off Westside Road and out of the area, to ensure unimpeded access for emergency responders and local residents. Area residents must access their properties from the south along Westside Road. A northern portion of Westside Road remains closed in both directions for more than 15 kilometres between Pinecrest Road and Goodwater Drive. Visit www.drivebc.ca for highway condition updates.

Hazard information

Be cautious of potential hazards in the area due to wildfire and fire suppression activity. Watch for wildlife, hazard trees and debris.

Contact 9-1-1 if you see spot fires threatening homes or other areas showing rapid growth.

The Rapid Assessment Team has inspected more than 340 homes for occupancy and placed green – minor to no fire damage, orange – restricted use, and red – unsafe placards on assessed properties. Please follow the notes that the assessors have provided on the signs.

Residents are reminded that private and public lands within the wildfire area will have remaining hazards to people and pets. Property owners should work with their insurer to resolve remaining hazards and begin the recovery, mitigation and rebuilding process for private structures and properties.  

Animal pick-up

Residents with animals in the care of ALERT, call 250-809-7152 to arrange pick-up.

Backcountry restrictions

Residents and the public are requested to stay out of the backcountry. An Area Restriction Order is in effect for all Crown lands in in the vicinity of the White Rock Lake wildfire.

More information

For updates on wildfire activity in the Regional District of Central Okanagan or for resources on being prepared for an emergency, visit cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates, and follow Central Okanagan Emergency Operations social media channels at facebook.com/cordemergency or twitter.com/CO_emerg.