Shots from the media tour of the Joe Rich Fire on Aug. 26, 2017. - Image: Carli Berry

More residents able to return home

Around 125 Joe Rich residents can return to their homes outside of Kelowna after being evacuated

With reduced fire activity overnight, more Joe Rich residents are being allowed to return home.

The evacuation order for the Philpott Road fire has been partially rescinded allowing approximately 125 Joe Rich residents from 53 properties to return home, according to an Central Okanagan Emergency Operations release.

These properties are now on evacuation alert and residents should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice if circumstances change.

The following properties are removed from the evacuation order to evacuation alert:

11700 Greystokes Rd

11800 Greystokes Rd

11900 Greystokes Rd

8660 – 11600 Highway 33 E

11251 – 11401 Thelwell Rd

11150 – 11493 Three Forks Rd

Approximately 35 properties, affecting 77 residents, remain on evacuation order at the following properties:

310 – 1495 Philpott Rd

Philpot Road access is closed at Highway 33 to all but emergency and forestry vehicles.

Emergency and fire personnel activity remains active at Three Forks Road. Evacuated residents returning home should obey all safety personnel, stay away from emergency vehicles and crews in the area and be aware of the potential of hazards on private property as a result of the fire activity, said the release.

Highway 33 is now open in both directions with reduced speed in the fire zone between Schram Road and Cardinal Creek Road. Motorists can expect delays and are asked to obey all traffic control personnel who are managing the fire staging locations and supporting fire mitigation efforts. Visit DriveBC for the latest updates, said the release.

Residents returning home can bring household pets, like cats and dogs, with them. Other animals are not allowed back in at this time due to the uncertainty about fire behaviour and the potential for reinstating evacuation orders if necessary.

To view a detailed map showing properties that are on Order and Alert, please visit the operations’ website.

The Emergency Support Services reception centre at Willow Park Church, 439 Highway 33 West in Kelowna will be open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today.

FortisBC is advising customers that will receive a bill credit for charges incurred during the period they were under evacuation order for the Philpott Road wildfire. Full details on the FortisBC website.