Highway 33 opens and more residents return home

As the Joe Rich fire continues to burn, Highway 33 has re-opened to single lane traffic

UPDATE: 11:53 a.m.

The evacuation order is being partially rescinded for 120 residents in Joe Rich affected by the Philpott Road wildfire.

As of 10:30 a.m., Highway 33 is open to single lane, alternating, piloted traffic. Some returning residents living along Sun Valley Road, Peregrine Road and one property on Goudie Road will remain on Evacuation Alert and if fire conditions change, they must be prepared to leave their homes on short notice.

Household pets, such as cats and dogs are only allowed to return with residents. Other animals are not allowed back in at this time, due to the uncertainty about fire behaviour and the potential for Evacuation Orders to be re-instated if necessary.

The Evacuation Order remains in effect for about 160 properties affecting 380 residents. When it is safe and fire conditions allow, the order will be adjusted.

Progress is being made on the blaze as 90 structural firefighters from various Central and South Okanagan fire departments are protecting buildings and homes within the fire area. BC Wildfire Service crews and heavy equipment are on scene, and estimate the blaze has burned approximately 465-hectares and is 20 per cent contained.

Properties now on evacuation alert include:

  • 6785 Goudie Road
  • 8315 – 8751 Peregrine Road
  • 6738 – 8011 Sun Valley Road

Residents on the Falcon Ridge water system are restricted to household use only – no irrigation permitted to preserve water supply to fight the fire.

To view a detailed map of the expanded alert area and remaining area under order visit www.cordemergency.ca.

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Although the fire in Joe Rich has reached a point that 600 area residents were able to return home Sunday, it’s still creating difficulty on the nearby highway.

Highway 33 has been closed again in both directions, according to Drive BC, despite being partially opened this weekend. A re-evaluation will be made this morning.

RELATED: FIRE 20 PER CENT CONTAINED

For safety reasons, the return home is going to be a slow process. Residents are urged to be patient as RCMP, Ministry of Transportation and Canadian Forces personnel manage the return to neighbourhoods where Evacuation Orders have been rescinded. Many of these areas are beside areas that remain on Evacuation Order.

Other than household pets, like cats and dogs, animals are not be permitted back in at this time, due to the uncertainty about fire behaviour and the potential for Evacuation Orders to be re-instated if necessary.

RELATED: PREMIER HORGAN HEADS TO KELOWNA FIRE AREA

Residents on the Falcon Ridge water system are restricted to household use only – no irrigation permitted to preserve water supply to fight the fire.

For an updated, interactive map of the revised evacuation order and alert areas, www.cordemergency.ca.

Important Information for Those Returning Home

As active fire suppression work continues throughout the area of the fire, people are asked to stay out of the way of emergency vehicles and crews.

Residents are reminded they may encounter various hazards on private properties as a result of the forest fire. BC Emergency Preparedness has additional information for returning home after a wildfire.

As of last night, the fire was 20 per cent contained. See more details here.