Residents of a Central Okanagan subdivision affected by the White Rock Lake wildfire are returning home after an evacuation order was downgraded on Wednesday.
Further, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said Thursday that “while orders remain in place for other affected properties in the (Valley of the Sun) area, it is expected that all evacuated residents will be able to return to their properties by the weekend.”
“We are close to bringing people safely home thanks to the hard work of firefighters of the North Westside Fire Rescue and the men and women from the fire departments from around the province,” said North Westside fire Chief Alex Van Bruksvoort.
“It’s almost time to turn the corner, we’re almost there — and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this trying time.”
The White Rock Lake fire is estimated at 83,342 hectares, with the BC Wildfire Service noting on Thursday that no further growth was seen Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, crews ignited a planned burn involving 975 hectares. BC Wildfire says the burn reduced the risk of the fire spreading further.
In other news, CORE says the Ministry of Transportation is assessing hazards along Westside Road, between Shalal and Firwood roads.
CORE says residents re-entering the area must enter from the south along Westside Road, adding that traffic control will be in place to ensure that only local traffic enters the evacuation alert area.
Also, Westside Road will remain closed from Firwood to Irish Creek roads until further assessments and mitigation work can be completed.
CORE also said electrical service has been restored within the evacuated area, though some electrical lines may have been shut off due to safety concerns.
“Extended periods without electrical service may impact the availability of other services, such as water or septic depending on your source/provider, or flipped breakers,” said CORE.
In addition, a water quality advisory is in place until further notice for the Upper Fintry-Shalal Road-Valley of the Sun water systems.
As a precaution, residents of those systems — especially those with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly — should boil all water intended for drinking, making beverages or ice, washing fruit and vegetables, or brushing teeth for at least one minute.