White Rock Lake Wildfire update

Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 11:31am

News Release No. 36: Central Okanagan, B.C. — Updated: clarifies status of Upper Fintry —  The BC Wildfire Service classifies the White Rock Lake Wildfire as active and out of control with an estimated size of 80,951 hectares.

The Evacuation Order for 1,316 properties and Alert for 850 properties remains unchanged until further notice for properties in the North Westside community within the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

According to BC Wildfire, fire activity continues to be minimal along the south, west, and northern flanks; however, with warming temperatures, activity is anticipated to increase again over the course of the week, with winds of 10 to 15 km/h, gusting to 30 km/h from the east-northeast today. Temperatures are expected to get into the mid-20s by Wednesday.

To date, crews have confirmed that 78 properties have been directly impacted by the fire. Communities that have incurred damage, which remain on Evacuation Order, include:

  • Killiney Beach
  • Estamont Beach
  • Beau Park area within the Regional District of Central Okanagan

Communities where there are no reports of major structural damage, which remain on Evacuation Order, include:

  • Westshore Estates
  • Wainman Cove
  • Ewings Landing
  • Valley of the Sun
  • And select properties in Upper Fintry that remain on Evacuation Order; most of Upper Fintry is on Evacuation Alert, please check our map at cordemergency.ca/map to determine which properties are on Order or Alert.

“North Westside Fire Rescue has continued patrols in all neighbourhoods overnight. We have been incredibly blessed to have multiple other fire departments support our community in hardening homes and extinguishing small spot fires during the day. BC Hydro has continued the power lines rebuild in and along Westside Road,” said Chief Alex Van Bruksvoort. “Please have patience as North Westside Fire Rescue supports all agencies in bringing this wildfire under control, as all of us have the end result in mind to bring all of you home to the North Westside.”

The Emergency Operations Centre was able to work with crews to escort residents whose homes were structurally damaged by the wildfire and conduct a tour along a pre-determined established safe route.

“Residents were very appreciative of having the chance to temporarily observe their properties; and while it goes without saying that it was an extremely difficult day for them, and all who were there to offer support, homeowners were grateful for the opportunity to begin the process of moving forward. Our hearts go out to them in this difficult time,” said Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre Public Information Officer Jodie Foster.

The EOC continues to reach out directly to residents whose properties were significantly damaged based on ongoing visual assessments of the area. At this time, most owners of properties that have sustained significant structural damage have been contacted. It is important for all residents under an Evacuation Order or Alert to register with Emergency Support Services even if they do not require support with accommodations. This registration is one of the ways to make sure they can be contacted in the event of significant damages to their property. Residents should note property assessment work is ongoing, and as conditions allow, and subject to change as crews gain further access to affected areas.

While there is not a specific time-frame for when evacuation orders will be lifted, evacuees should expect that they will not be able to access their home until crews deem it safe to do so:

  • Hotspots and flare ups have continued almost daily, there continue to be over 30 pieces of major equipment in the area, with fire suppression lines and bladders in place to support fighting the fire as it flares up. Fire crews need unimpeded access to the area.
  • Crews continue to assess, identify and dispose of hazardous materials. There is no power and no potable water in the affected areas.
  • Crews are working to restore services to prepare for the time when it is deemed safe to return. BC Hydro is starting to repair power infrastructure.

Evacuated residents can call 1-833-498-3770 to register and access assistance, such as lodging and food, from Emergency Support Services. The ESS reception centre at 1480 Sutherland Avenue is open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registering with the ESS, even if you do not need support, provides a way for the EOC to contact property owners whose properties have been damaged. ESS support services have now been expanded to continue until Oct. 1 for those owners who do not have home insurance.

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.