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Shuswap region evacuees will soon be allowed to visit damaged, lost homes

Click to play video: 'Returning home after the Adams Complex fire'
Returning home after the Adams Complex fire
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District announced it is making plans to allow evacuees to visit their homes that have been affected, damaged or lost to wildfires – Sep 3, 2023

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District announced it is making plans to allow evacuees to visit their homes in the area that have been affected, damaged or lost to wildfires.

It is asking all evacuees who may think their properties have been affected to contact district officials.

Click to play video: 'Shuswap region evacuees will soon be allowed to visit damaged, lost homes: regional district'
Shuswap region evacuees will soon be allowed to visit damaged, lost homes: regional district

“This will be an important next step in the process before we can remove any more evacuation orders from the area,” said Tracy Hughes of the regional district.

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“If you believe your property has been affected, damaged or lost, please reach out to us as soon as possible at 250-833-3350, so you can participate and access your property,” she said.

“All the North Shuswap residents must be aware that this fire has left significant damage and very dangerous conditions behind.”

Those dangers include ash pits, danger trees, and hazardous ash and debris.

Hughes did not provide a timeline of when evacuees will be allowed to visit their properties as the district will have to coordinate first.

Click to play video: 'BC Hydro provides update on operations to restore power in Shuswap region'
BC Hydro provides update on operations to restore power in Shuswap region

BC Hydro, which has 150 workers on the ground, is working to restore power.

“The wildfire caused significant damage to our infrastructure in the area. We lost about 27 kilometres of power lines, 430 poles and 66 pieces of other equipment that all need to be replaced,” said Mary Anne Coules of BC Hydro.

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As of Sunday, Coules said a third of damaged power poles have been replaced and power has been restored to 1,246 customers, with an additional 1,585 customers expected to have power restored in the afternoon.

“While our crews are making good progress, they’re dealing with very challenging terrain and that makes restoration more complicated in some areas,” Coules said.

“The area remains an active work zone, with over 150 workers and heavy equipment on site repairs, reconstruction site remediation in areas with damaged transformers and debris removal are all ongoing. We ask that you please avoid these areas while work is underway.”

As of Sunday, there are 3,663 properties that remain on evacuation order and 2,322 on alert.

The Bush Creek East wildfire was mapped at 43,084 hectares as of 10 a.m. Sunday.

Click to play video: 'Slowly making headway against wildfires in Shuswap'
Slowly making headway against wildfires in Shuswap

Variable cloud cover and isolated afternoon showers were expected in the area, Sunday.

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“We are seeing very good progress on both (the Bush East Creek and Rossmoore Lake) wildfires,” said Marg Drysdale of BC Wildfire Service.

Crews are expected to continue to work on the wildfire for the next several weeks.

“A lot of the work that (BC Wildfire crews) are doing is mop up. We are starting to see a reduction in the amount of equipment on the fire and we will see a reduction in the number of structural protection units.” Drysdale said.

The Bush Creek Fire East was 43,000 hectares in size and Rossmore Lake was 11,000 hectares in size, as of Sunday afternoon. Both of these fires are still currently considered out of control.

Drysdale is advising nearby community members that fire activity may still be visible but will remain within the fire perimeter as some unburned fuels remain.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District downgraded an order affecting 23 properties in Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) on Saturday.

With the order rescinded, those properties are now part of a revised evacuation alert zone that includes 15 other properties along the west side of Little Shuswap Lake. The alert includes part of Loakin-Bear Creek Road.

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