More neighbourhoods are being cleared for their residents’ return in the aftermath of the devastating McDougall Creek wildfire, though many others are still on hold.
All Kelowna and Lake Country residents displaced by the fire have been given the go-ahead to return, while residents of some 2,000-plus properties on the West Kelowna side of Okanagan Lake remain on evacuation order as of Monday morning.
Evacuation orders are slowly being lifted in some of the hardest-hit areas in the region.
North Westside Fire Chief Ross Kotscherofski said Monday that residents of properties north of Terrace Mountain Road along Westside Road, including La Casa up to and Fintry Provincial Park in the Regional District Electoral Area West, can return to their homes under evacuation alert status.
“I want to reassure everybody who is in those alert areas that emergency crews are still available to support you in the case that there is another emergency such as a first medical response or another fire,” he said.
“I want to express my support again today for those who are finding out now that their properties have been partially or fully lost during this fire. I want you to know that the firefighters that I get to work with in Wilsons Landing, North Westside, are with you.
“We are part of your community and we are experiencing the same thing.”
Returning residents must access Westside Road from Highway 97 via the north through Okanagan Indian Band and are reminded to be patient and slow down. The speed limit throughout OKIB IR No. 1 along Westside Road is 60 km/h.
Motorists should also be aware that Westside Road is still closed south of La Casa due to fire activity and damage further south along Westside Road.
Residents are encouraged to check the EOC map before heading home to confirm the status of their property.
For the safety of the public and fire crews still working in the area, please do not enter naturalized areas. There are still locations where active firefighting is underway and dangers like downed power lines, hazardous materials, damaged trees, debris and equipment pose a safety risk.
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