UPDATE 2:30 p.m.:
Properties in the Valley of the Sun subdivision are now on evacuation alert after the district downgraded its order.
Residents may return home for the following properties:
- Alpine Road
- Attenborough Road
- Balsam Road
- Briarwood Road
- Firwood Road
- Westside Road (7875, 7951, 7981, 8015, 8039, 8255, 8285, 8415)
- Westside Road North (7919, 8055, 8063, 8219, 8325, 8375)
- Wood Road
Orders remain in place for the rest of the electoral area until further notice.
Those downgraded to alert should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice as the White Rock Lake wildfire is still classified as out of control.
The North Westside Transfer Station is closed. Those who return home will have to use the station at Traders Cove for waste disposal.
A fridge and freezer disposal program is being coordinated. More details to come.
Increased wildlife has been reported in the area due to the wildfire and residents are reminded to secure and dispose of waste properly to avoid attracting animals.
A water quality advisory is in place until further notice for the Upper Fintry Shalal Road-Valley of the Sun water systems and as a precautionary measure, those with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly should only consume water that has been boiled for at least one minute.
The reported size of the White Rock Lake wildfire is up to 83,112 hectares after wildland firefighters burned around 975 hectares of fuel Monday in a large-scaled ignition operation.
As a result of the successful burn, BC Wildfire Services said no growth was observed over Tuesday, Aug. 31, prompting the City of Vernon to rescind its evacuation alert that had been in effect for Canadian Lakeview Estates, Adventure Bay and a portion of Tronson Road for several weeks.
“This has been a difficult and challenging summer in our region,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “On behalf of the city, I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we waited for the right time to rescind the alert to ensure the safety of residents.”
But he acknowledged there’s more work to be done in areas still ordered evacuated.
“There has been great loss experienced within neighbouring communities,” Cumming said. “Our hearts go out to each of you and we offer sincere condolences.”
The burn brought the fire down to an established control line in many key areas on the northeast flank making containment possible in the next nine days, the provincial agency said.
The 329 wildland firefighters assigned to the fire continue to mop up and patrol areas across the fire. Drones are being used to scan the area and identify hotspots.
Six helicopters and 35 pieces of heavy equipment are aiding the 120 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, firefighters, 21 structure protection personnel and nine danger tree fallers. Additional air support is available if needed as well.
Rain and cooler weather are aiding in the fire containment efforts, the Township of Spallumcheen said in a statement Wednesday but reminds its residents in the evacuation alert area to stay vigilant in case of quickly changing situations.
Meanwhile, the Central Okanagan is readying to welcome evacuees home soon after more than 250 risk assessments of homes were completed as of Tuesday. Emergency operations experts its Rapid Damage Assessment Team’s work will be complete by Thursday.
“We strongly encourage people to attend our Returning Home Information Session on what to expect when they can ultimately return home,” said emergency operations centre director Corie Griffiths.
This information session will be live-streamed Wednesday, Sept. 1, on the district’s YouTube channel.
It will cover the assessment processes, provide updates on restoring utilities and cover dangers that may still exist on the property as well as provide health and mental well-being supports and coordinate waste management services.
The video will be available on the channel afterwards, for those who couldn’t participate live.