Residents see homes for first time in one of West Kelowna’s hardest-hit neighbourhoods

Click to play video: 'Residents of West Kelowna’s hardest hit area return home'
Residents of West Kelowna’s hardest hit area return home
As progress continues to be made on parts of the McDougall Creek wildfire burning in the hills above West Kelowna, residents in one of the hardest hit neighbourhoods got the green light to finally return home. Jayden Wasney has the latest – Aug 29, 2023

West Kelowna Estates was one of the hardest-hit neighbourhoods impacted by the McDougall Creek wildfire, but after nearly two weeks away from home, residents are finally returning.

“Oh, it’s amazing, I mean it was a long time, it felt like years almost,” said resident Coen Vanwermeskerken.

“So happy that I could get home but I’m just so happy that it’s still there, I’m one of the lucky ones.”

While some residents were fortunate enough to see their house still standing, others weren’t. Multiple homes throughout the area sustained either partial or significant damage, and for other homeowners, they’ll be returning to nothing.

Global News tried speaking with several residents who came back to nothing but ashes and rubble, but they were understandably emotional and declined.

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“It’s heartbreaking. Even good friends of mine, clients who have bought only three or four years ago, did a huge renovation, finished two weeks ago and it burned down to the ground,” said Vanwermeskerken.

“It’s devastating.”

Even for those who were able to return to their homes still standing, the destruction of the McDougall Creek wildfire came far too close for comfort for many in the tight-knit community. The damage left behind here will be felt for years to come.

Click to play video: 'Residents show how close flames came to their homes'
Residents show how close flames came to their homes

“Yeah, I can see it just one street down actually, there’s some devastation down there for sure,” described resident Chang Xhu, who could see the damage from his back deck.

“It came close.”

He, too, was just grateful to still have a home.

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“(We are) really thankful for the firefighters and the first responders with their efforts to keep our home safe,” said Xhu.

“Obviously we’re feeling for those who lost everything.”

Click to play video: 'As Okanagan fires ease, crews take time to reflect'
As Okanagan fires ease, crews take time to reflect

The Regional District, reminding residents to stay off of neighbouring properties, and respect those who are returning to lost or damaged structures.

Properties taken off of evacuation order in West Kelowna on Tuesday include:

  • Bear Creek Road – Only 1256, 1266, 1291, 1301, 1321, 1370, 1382, 1385, 1386, 1411, 1423, 1435
  • Blackwood Drive
  • Bowes Road
  • Griffiths Place
  • Guest Road
  • Klein Road
  • Lloyd Jones Drive
  • McNaughton Road – Only 1534, 1544, 1564, 1574
  • McPhail Court
  • Parkinson Road
  • Pettman Road
  • Scott Crescent
  • Shaleridge Place
  • Valois Court
  • Vancouver Road
  • West Kelowna Road
  • Westlake Road

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