White Rock Lake Wildfire update

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 5:48pm

News release No. 52 — Central Okanagan, B.C. — Multiple agencies continued their fire suppression and assessment work today within the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area neighbourhoods impacted by the White Rock Lake wildfire, with the aim of returning residents to their homes as soon as safely possible in the coming days.

The BC Wildfire Service has not made any recommended changes today to evacuation orders. BCWS and North Westside Fire Rescue remind everyone that the 81,362-hectare White Rock Lake wildfire remains active and out of control with 345 wildland firefighters, 52 structure protection personnel, seven helicopters, five danger tree assessors/fallers and 38 pieces of heavy machinery working in the area. Visit the BC Wildfires of Note webpage for more information.

BC Transportation and Infrastructure continues post-wildfire damage assessments and mitigation work and Westside Road remains closed for more than 31 kilometres between Shalal and Irish Creek Roads until further notice; for updates, visit www.drivebc.ca.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Rapid Damage Assessment Team is determining whether remaining structures are safe for continued occupancy.

“Our Rapid Damage Assessment Team is focusing on neighbourhoods known to have fire damaged homes and more than 250 homes have been inspected and the team anticipates completing their work Thursday,” says Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre Director Corie Griffiths. “We strongly encourage people to attend our Returning Home Information Session on what to expect when they can ultimately return home.”

The information session is geared towards Central Okanagan West Electoral Area residents who have been evacuated as a result of the White Rock Lake Wildfire. The session will be livestreamed Wednesday, Sept. 1 between 4 and 5 p.m. at www.youtube.com/regionaldistrict where they will learn about:

  • The Rapid Damage Assessment process, which determines whether a structure is unsafe for continued occupancy, and communicates specific hazards to those returning to their properties through a green, orange, or red placard placed on each assessed structure:
    • Green, minor or no fire damage
    • Orange, restricted use
    • Red, unsafe
  • Updates on efforts to restore water, power and other utilities
  • Dangers that may exist on the surrounding property including tree fall, ash and other visible and hidden hazards to expect after a wildfire
  • Health and mental well-being supports
  • Coordinated waste management services

CORD Emergency will post a recording of the information session on the Regional District of Central Okanagan YouTube channel for those unable to watch in real time or who want to revisit information provided during the session.

As the session is public, the meeting will not be an opportunity for residents to ask questions about specific properties; however, the Regional District has already directly contacted residents whose properties have been substantially damaged by the wildfire.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is also preparing a Returning Home Guide that will be available to residents prior to their return home. Residents will find this and other resources on the EOC website at www.cordemergency.ca/resources.