“After weeks of evacuation orders, alerts and updates, we are now aiming towards a return to home.”
“Tomorrow afternoon, we will begin the process of downgrading evacuation orders,” the CSRD said.
Regional district information officer Tracy Hughes says initial assessments of fire-impacted areas are now complete, “and we have the go-ahead to begin a staged re-entry process.”
On Wednesday at 2 p.m., evacuation orders for Celista and Magna Bay will be downgraded to evacuation alerts.
Two hours later, at 4 p.m., evacuation orders for Scotch Creek and Lee Creek will be downgraded to evacuation alerts.
Then, at 7 p.m., the Lower East Adams Lake and Tsutwecw (Roderick Haig-Brown) Provincial Park will have their evacuation orders downgraded to alerts.
Also Tuesday, the CSRD announced that the fire had destroyed 176 structures, up from its previous estimate of 131.
The number of partially damaged structures rose as well, to 50 from 37.
“If you’re not from the North Shuswap, please stay away,” Derek Sutherland of Emergency Operations said. “We do not need additional people making re-entry for locals complicated.
“No matter what, it’s going to take a long time to get everybody back and there will be congestion on the road.”
Hughes said, “Our community has faced one of the most challenging summers on record and has suffered through losses few could have imagined.”
The regional district says it’ll be sharing information across all of its public information channels over the next few days.
Sutherland says if you see smoke on your property, call 911.
“It’s important to emphasize that the area looks very different now,” Sutherland said. “And sometimes it helps to have an idea of what to expect before returning to your neighbourhood.”
Sutherland says the fire zone is still hazardous, and that “nobody should enter burned structures, burned forest areas or areas that are marked and fenced off.”
“We can’t stress enough, injury is likely if you enter these areas,” he said.
The CSRD also said that water should be assumed to be non-drinkable until testing has been completed.
For example, the CSRD says the Scotch Creek transfer station will reopen on Thursday, and that fridges and freezers can be dropped off there (3508 Squilax-Anglemont Road).
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