BC Hydro delivered diesel generating units to West Kelowna this morning to provide power, on a temporary basis, to about 1,000 customers who have been without electricity since Monday due to the Westside Road wildfire.
BC Hydro crews are currently working on integrating the units into the power system and hope to have the units running on Friday.
The temporary units will provide continuous electricity to the customers that are receiving power on a rotational basis and the La Casa subdivision. Customers directly in the fire zone will remain without power until BC Hydro is permitted access to the area impacted by the fire.
Until the generating units are running, BC Hydro will continue to provide power on a rotating basis to customers. There are three rotations, each six hours long and providing power to 300 customers at a time. If system conditions permit, BC Hydro will add additional customers to these rotations.
BC Hydro is asking impacted customers to minimize their power usage until the wildfire has been contained and we are able to fully repair our system.
BC Hydro crews are on standby, ready to begin the power restoration process for 1,100 customers who are without power in the Okanagan due to the Westside Road wildfire.
Crews have not had access to the area impacted by the fire and are waiting for safety clearance from authorities.
BC Hydro has no indication at this time of when crews will be able to access the area to begin assessing damage to lines and poles to begin power restoration.
In the short-term, BC Hydro will provide power from a different circuit, with limited capacity, on a rotating basis, beginning at 4 p.m. yesterday. There will be three rotations, each six hours long, providing power to 300 customers at a time. Customers can expect to receive six hours of power during an 18-hour cycle.
Of the 1,100 customers without power, this solution will provide power to 900 customers on a rotating basis. This rotation will continue until BC Hydro can make repairs to the system or can install a temporary solution like a diesel generating unit. Two hundred customers directly in the fire zone and in the La Casa subdivision will not be able to receive this rotational power.
More than 1,400 customers lost power on Monday after emergency officials asked BC Hydro to de-energize a power line after the Westside Road wildfire burnt through it. On Tuesday evening, crews were able to switch some customers to another circuit, restoring power to 300 customers.
BC Hydro crews are ready to respond as soon as access is provided. This includes the assembly of the appropriate materials, crews, designers and other experts that may be required.
To ensure that the system does not get overloaded, BC Hydro is asking customers to minimize their power usage until the wildfire has been contained and we are able to fully repair our system. Affected residents are asked to plug in and turn on only what is necessary.
Westside Rd. Power Outage and Evacuations – Food and Water Safety Tips
Due to the Shelter Cove wildfire, Interior Health has issued the following water and food safety guidelines for those properties that remain without power and for evacuees upon returning home.
Power outages and firefighting efforts may have affected operation of your water supply system and the quality of your water. The impact on you and your family will vary according to your situation but all evacuees are advised to take steps to ensure their water is safe when returning to their homes.
For residents who are on a community water system:
• Please do your best to conserve water as the supply may be very limited due to the recent power outages. Power rotations are also in effect with the power rotating on for six hours and then off for 12 hours.
• Questions about the quality of drinking water should be directed to the local water supplier (e.g. municipality, utility provider, etc.). These suppliers are best able to assess how their systems have been affected and whether there is any impact on the quality of drinking water.
• If you cannot reach your water supplier and are unsure if your water has been impacted, it is recommended that you boil your water or use an alternate source (bottled water).
• Where firefighting activities (including the use of retardant) has occurred in a community watershed there will be increased monitoring for changes in water quality. Public notifications will be issued if there is some level of risk or uncertainty associated with drinking water use.
For residents with individual wells that suspect their water supply has been affected:
• Water should be boiled or an alternative source of drinking water should be used until the water source can be assessed or tested to ensure it meets safety standards. Sample bottles can be provided by water testing laboratories. For information on having your private water source tested, please refer to the list of Provincial Health Officer Approved Drinking Water Testing Laboratories (http://lmlabs.phsa.ca/AboutUs/OurLaboratories/Enhanced+Water+Quality+Assurance+Program.htm) or check your telephone directory’s yellow pages under Laboratories – Analytical.
If the power has been out in your home, the food in your fridge or freezer may no longer be safe to eat. The following tips will help you determine if your food has been affected:
• Ideally, fridge temperatures should remain at 4 degrees Celsius or colder and foods in the freezer should remain frozen solid.
• In a power outage, a refrigerator can usually keep food cool for up to four hours and a freezer can usually keep food safe for a few days – if it is kept closed.
• If you don’t have a thermometer or if you don’t know how long your fridge or freezer was without power:
• Check the products in the fridge for spoilage and souring.
• Milk and other dairy products that have spoiled/become sour are good indicators that the fridge has been off and all food should be discarded.
• Ice cream that has thawed and refrozen is a good indicator that the freezer has been off.
• Fish product that smells bad upon thawing is also a sign that food in your freezer has thawed and refrozen.
• Frozen foods that have thawed must be discarded as they may no longer be safe to eat.
• Food in the freezer that has (or may have) reached 4 degrees Celsius or warmer should be discarded and must not be refrozen.
If there has been an extended power outage, it may be necessary to contact your insurance provider. Make a list of items discarded and photograph those items (if possible) for insurance purposes.
Remember, if in doubt – throw it out. Do not take any chances with the safety of your food.
During fires, some components of septic systems may be damaged. If your property was directly impacted by fire your septic system should be assessed by a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP). To find an ROWP in your area: http://owrp.asttbc.org/c/finder.php.
To contact an environmental health officer for questions regarding food and water safety,call 250-979-7665.