White Rock Lake Wildfire update

Monday, August 30, 2021 - 4:53pm

News Release No. 49 Central Okanagan, B.C. — The Emergency Operations Centre is mobilizing all available resources to allow residents affected by the White Rock Lake Wildfire to safely return to their communities as soon as possible. However, this is not expected to be a quick process and the patience of residents is appreciated.

We have not had a confirmed recommendation from BC Wildfire Service to change any evacuation orders or alerts associated with the White Rock Lake Wildfire. In addition, we continue to work with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which is currently assessing the safety of Westside Road. The ministry has indicated that the road will remain closed until this work is complete.

“We understand that residents are anxious to know when they can get back into their communities,” says Corie Griffiths, Regional EOC Director. “But there is a lot of work that needs to be done across multiple agencies to ensure that these areas are safe before residents return.”

Examples of the additional work that the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) and its partners need to complete include:

  • Assessing all structures for fire-related damage
  • Ensuring residents have access to telecommunications and can contact emergency responders such as fire, police and ambulance services
  • Assessing environmental hazards that may endanger human health
  • Provide residents with return to home resources and guidance

Given the comprehensive nature of the work that is needed across multiple agencies, we are not able to provide a timeline for all of this work. By midweek, it is anticipated that residents will be provided with a Return Home Guide and be invited to attend a Return Home Information Session.

At this time, the evacuation Order for 1,316 properties and 850 properties on Alert in the North Westside communities within the RDCO remain in place.

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.