White Rock Lake Wildfire update

Monday, August 30, 2021 - 9:26am

News Release No. 48 Central Okanagan, B.C. — Weather conditions remained favourable over the weekend and crews continue to work on suppression efforts for the White Rock Lake wildfire, which remains at 81,362 hectares and is classified as out of control by BC Wildfire Services.

“I was reminded tonight of how frayed all our nerves are in regards to the wildfires,” says North Westside Fire Chief Alex Van Bruksvoort. “I received multiple calls today and tonight about the fires burning above Valley of the Sun. North Westside Fire Rescue was there standing by as BC Wildfire did controlled ignitions. We did this to ease the fears of all the residents and the Firefighters. Please be patient as all this is being done to safeguard your neighbourhoods on the North Westside.”

Site conditions and weather are favourable today for BCWS to proceed with another planned ignition on the northeast corner of the wildfire. The ignition of approximately 3,000 hectares is critical for helping to ensure that the fire perimeter is as secure as possible with no fuel available for further growth. Residents should expect to see significant smoke from this suppression work.

Based on BCWFS recommendations, the emergency operations centre is mobilizing all available resources to assess public safety in order to allow residents to return to their communities as soon as possible. However, this is expected to be a long process and the patience of residents is appreciated.

The evacuation Order for 1,316 properties and 850 properties on Alert in the North Westside communities within the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) remain in place.

“Assessments are underway for all the properties on evacuation order and we are trying determine which areas can return safely,” says Corie Griffiths, Regional EOC Director. “BC Wildfire Service continues to do planned ignitions in some areas to remove debris and fuel from the area and utilities assessment work is underway.”

To date 78 properties have been confirmed as having sustained significant damage. Those owners have been contacted. As assessment work continues it is likely that additional properties under evacuation order will have had some damage that could cause the home to be temporarily unsafe to live in until remediation work can be undertaken.

Central Okanagan evacuees can find out more about Emergency Support Services by calling 250-469-8512 or by visiting the Central Okanagan ESS Reception Centre at 1480 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna, open noon to 6 p.m. today. The following rules apply:

  • Evacuated residents WITH homeowner or tenant insurance will not be given an extension for coverage and should immediately contact their insurance provider to find out what coverage is available.
  • Evacuated residents WITHOUT homeowner or tenant insurance may receive support and should contact Emergency Support Services.

You can visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada for more information on the process of an insurance claim as a result of a BC wildfire at www.ibc.ca/ns/disaster/bcwildfire.

There are eligibility requirements for emergency support services. Homeowner or tenant insurance may provide greater support than the Emergency Support Services program. Check with your insurer to determine what may be available to you. For details on eligibility, see the Evacuee Living Assistance Policy (PDF, 378KB).

For more information about this wildfire, visit cordemergency.ca, BC Wildfire Services and 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.