With the White Rock Lake wildfire now under control, and all Central Okanagan residents returned home, area parks are opening up to the public.
The final evacuation order was rescinded for 18 additional Bouleau Lake Road properties Sunday, Sept. 5.
Properties in Estamont, Ewings Landing, Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates remain under evacuation alert until further notice due to the wildfire.
Assessments at several area parks confirmed they are safe for the public to visit. Fintry, Westshore, Trepanier Creek, Goats Peak and Glen Canyon parks reopened Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Killiney and Coldham parks remain closed until safety assessments are complete.
Westside Road has been reopened to local traffic only, meaning area residents can now access and egress their properties north to Vernon and south to West Kelowna. However, Drive BC reports that Westside Road remains closed to the general public.
“While we are thankful that we can finally welcome all residents back to their homes, this is just the start of the recovery process” regional Emergency Operations Centre director Corie Griffiths said. “Many hazards exist within the area on both public and private lands and residents need to be careful re-entering their properties to start the cleanup.”
Property owners should work with their insurers to resolve remaining hazards and begin the recovery, mitigation and rebuilding process for private structures and properties.
For residents who currently have a Do Not Consume Notice on the Killiney Water System, a self-serve water filling station has been set up at the corner of Westside and Firwood roads. This water is from the Upper Fintry Water System which remains under a water quality advisory.
BC Wildfire Service and North Westside Fire Rescue remind everyone that the 83,342-hectare White Rock Lake wildfire remains active; and, although the fire is classified as being held, residents in the alert areas should be prepared to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
An Area Restriction is in effect for all Crown land in the vicinity of the White Rock Lake Wildfire. Hunting and other activities in the backcountry are prohibited for the safety and security of wildland firefighters, and the general public. Hazards within the area include ash pits, falling trees and rocks, unstable slopes and burnt over roads. Conservation officers will issue fines to anyone found ignoring the restrictions.
With all evacuation orders in the Regional District of Central Okanagan boundary now rescinded, the Emergency Operations Centre is gradually reducing activities. Staff remain ready to respond should conditions change. Residents can leave non-emergency messages at 250-469-8490. Contact 9-1-1 if you see spot fires threatening homes or growing rapidly.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan has provided information and resources on recovering after a wildfire, including the Returning Home Information Guide, available online at www.rdco.com/recovery. Staff also handed out more than 750 guides as residents returned home Thursday and Friday. Central Okanagan residents, whose properties experienced significant structural damage, can now contact the Regional District’s Recovery Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-469-6111.
The North Westside Transfer Station will be open daily from 8 a.m. to noon. Wildfire-affected properties can bring unlimited household waste, until further notice. The North Westside Transfer Station can receive bagged garbage and non-burnt yard waste. Hazardous materials, wildfire demolition waste, building materials, furniture and large appliances, and burnt vehicles cannot be accepted.
For fridge and freezer collection, call 1-855-238-9350 to schedule a curbside pick-up. Do not put fridges or freezers outside until just before your collection time to avoid attracting wildlife. Residents should confirm with their insurer before disposing of fridges or freezers because once collected, they cannot be returned. Curbside pick-up of ruined fridges and freezers will be available until Sept. 14.
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 at 1480 Sutherland Ave., are open from noon to 4 p.m. Evacuated residents requiring support can call 250-469-8512. Leave a message after hours.
The Rapid Assessment Team has inspected more than 340 structures for occupancy suitability and placed placards on those that they have assessed: green – minor to no fire damage, orange – restricted use, and red – unsafe.