Regional District of Central Okanagan communications officer Bruce Smith addressed the media this afternoon about the firefighting efforts to contain the Huckleberry Fire in Joe Rich.

Joe Rich fire evacuation order partially lifted

Some 114 property owners will be allowed to return home; 28 others remain on evacuation order; fire now termed 100% contained.

The evacuation order for the Huckleberry Fire in Joe Rich  has been partially lifted for 114 properties effective 8 p.m. tonight.

The 28 properties remaining on evacuation order cannot return home and include:

6090 Highway 33                                1848 Huckleberry Road

6130 Highway 33                                1876 Huckleberry Road

6210 Highway 33                                1898 Huckleberry Road

6380 Highway 33                                1935 Huckleberry Road

6440 Highway 33                                1940 Huckleberry Road

6446 Highway 33                                1947 Huckleberry Road

6450 Highway 33                                1955 Huckleberry Road

6460 Highway 33                                1957 Huckleberry Road

1733 Huckleberry Road                     1959 Huckleberry Road

1735 Huckleberry Road                     1960 Huckleberry Road

1736 Huckleberry Road                     1961 Huckleberry Road

1737 Huckleberry Road                     1967 Huckleberry Road

1842 Huckleberry Road                     1969 Huckleberry Road

1843 Huckleberry Road                     1973 Huckleberry Road

 

The properties previously on evacuation order and all properties currently on evacuation alert and should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice, should conditions change and the evacuation order needs to be reinstated or expanded.

BC Wildfire Services is reporting the fire is 100 per cent contained, however, active hotspots continue.  It is anticipated there will be heavy smoke in the area for several days.  The fire has now been mapped and is 55 hectares in size.

Returning residents are reminded that they may encounter various hazards on private properties as a result of the forest fire. The public is also requested to stay out of fire-affected areas for their own safety and to obey all warning and hazards signs. The Evacuation Order area remains closed to everyone.

As active fire suppression work continues, please stay out of the way of emergency vehicles and crews. Ten structural fire fighters from various Central Okanagan fire departments along with 20 personnel from the BC Wildfire Service will continue working throughout the night.

The Reception Center at Willow Park Church will close tonight at 10 p.m. and re-open Sunday, July 5, at 8:30 a.m.

detailed map with the latest Evacuation Order and Alert areas showing affected roads and addresses can be viewed online at www.cordemergency.ca.

RCMP continues to staff roadblocks and will conduct security patrols overnight through the Evacuation Area.  Highway 33 will remain open to single lane alternating traffic.

 

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Some traffic flow on Highway 33 has returned but the evacuees are not yet being allowed to return home as forest fire adjacent to Highway 33, now called The Huckleberry Fire, continues to burn in the Joe Rich area.

Police are allowing alternating single lane traffic through the fire zone but access to the rural residential area impacted by the evacuation notice on the north side of Highway 33 remains closed off.

Tonight, the wildlife management branch is saying contained of The Huckleberry Fire, now 55 hectares in size, has been achieved primarily along the south and west flanks through the hard working efforts of B.C. wildlife service forest fighting crews and local firefighters primarily from the Joe Rich, Lake Country and Big White fire departments.

The fire has now been mapped at 55 hectares in size. Forty firefighters, two helicopters and three water tenders are on site from the BC Wildfire Service.

A crew of 20 BC Wildfire Service firefighters will remain onsite overnight to monitor fire activity. The cause of this wildfire is still under investigation, although speculation the fire was started by a discarded cigarette was neither confirmed or discounted by The Huckleberry Fire incident commander Dale Bojahra.

So far, 142 properties have been evacuated while another 158 remain on evacuation alert.

For evacuation status updates visit the website  www.cordemergency.ca.