UPDATE: 4:10 p.m.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations in consultation with the West Kelowna Fire Rescue has downgraded evacuation orders to evacuation alerts for the following properties:
539 Westside Rd S
575 Westside Rd S
605 Westside Rd S
631 Westside Rd S
639 Westside Rd S
643 Westside Rd S
649 Westside Rd S
657 Westside Rd S
661 Westside Rd S
667 Westside Rd S
675 Westside Rd S
683 Westside Rd S
691 Westside Rd S
697 Westside Rd S
Raymer area residents are advised to stay out of adjacent evacuation order areas.
These properties remained under order recently due to an unidentified odour while air quality testing was conducted over several days. The results of this investigation concluded the odour is not hazardous and the testing also did not lead to the cause or source of the odour.
Residents of these properties must not consume drinking water provided by this private water system. Private water systems in the area have varying degrees of damage due to the wildfire. Depending on the status of their drinking water, residents may want to bring clean drinking water with them when returning home. Residents are advised to follow up with their water system operators for more information.
The total number of properties on evacuation order in the Central Okanagan have been updated to reflect the recent rescindments over the past 24 hours including Lake Okanagan Resort properties, secondary suites and vacant properties from 380 to 99 properties as of today at 9 a.m. evacuation alerts are now reported at 4,860 properties from 4,858.
UPDATE 12:30 p.m.
According to BC Hydro, power has been restored to around 90 per cent of customers affected by the McDougall Creek wildfire.
More than 125 workers, both locally and from work the province, has restored power to around 1,200 customers. They have replaced nearly 400 of the 426 power poles that were destroyed during the blaze.
On top of replacing poles, and power lines, crews have worked with BC Wildfire Service in a clean up effort to remove debris and vegetation from the impacted areas.
Customers affected by the fire who were on evacuation order for five days or longer will are eligible to receieve a credit for the electricity consumed for the duration of the time they’re out of their home.
UPDATE 10:40 a.m.
The McDougall Creek wildfire continues to display low fire activity on Thursday.
Because of this, crews have been able to directly attack the blaze, meaning they can work closer to the fire’s edge and construct control lines.
Today, they are expected a mix of sun and cloud with relative humidity ranging from 20 to 30 per cent and southeasterly winds reaching 25 km/h.
BC Wildfire Service has the potential for a planned ignition that will be less than 10 hectares in size. It will only happen if weather conditions are favourable.
For the foreseeable future, Kelowna RCMP and conservation officers will remain on the scene to continue to enforce the area restriction order. Anyone found in the area is subject to a $1,150 fine.
The order is in place for many reasons including:
•Heavy equipment and chainsaw operators: Heavy equipment and chainsaw operators can’t hear or see you when operating equipment;
•Ash pits: Deep, intensely burning stumps and tree roots may result in hot ash pits underground that can lead to severe burns if you step or fall into one;
•Falling trees: Drought and burnt-out tree roots cause unstable trees that may fall at any time, especially if it’s windy.
BC Wildfire Service has also extended an area restriction order until Friday, Sept. 15, or until rescinded.
Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire. The operation of any aircraft not associated with fire suppression activities within a radius of five nautical miles around a fire, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), is illegal. Anyone found interfering with wildfire control efforts may face penalties of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
UPDATE 9:30 a.m.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations has now downgraded all remaining evacuation orders down to evacuation alerts on Bear Creek Road.
Residents living at the following addresses can go home but must be ready at a moment’s notice to leave again:
- 495 Bear Creek Road
- 524 Bear Creek Road
- 525 Bear Creek Road
- 534 Bear Creek Road
- 551 Bear Creek Road
- 573 Bear Creek Road
- 594 Bear Creek Road
- 611 Bear Creek Road
- 674 Bear Creek Road
- 724 Bear Creek Road
- 774 Bear Creek Road
- 779 Bear Creek Road
- 875 Bear Creek Road
- 910 Bear Creek Road
- 944 Bear Creek Road
- 1075 Bear Creek Road
All evacuation orders and alerts can be found on the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.
“Safety of residents is a priority. The rescindment for this area was not taken lightly,” said Emergency Operations in a release. “Residents must be fully aware they will be returning to their homes without power this evening. Given power has not been restored, RCMP will continue increased patrols through neighbourhoods until power is fully restored.”
BC Hydro crews continue to work in the area and motorists must slow down in work zones.
Three more roads have their evacuation order downgraded to an evacuation alert.
Around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night (Sept. 13), Central Okanagan Emergency Operations announced residents on the following roads could go home:
- Dougmac Road;
- Petterson Road;
- Rose Valley Road.
However, these residents are still on evacuation alert, meaning they must keep their go-bags in case they have to leave at a moment’s notice.
This announcement came just a few hours after Central Okanagan Emergency Operations announced a large portion of evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts along Westside Road, reopening the road.
✅CLEAR - #WestsideRoad is now OPEN in both directions to Single Lane Alternating Traffic between #BCHwy97 and Fintry Delta Road.— DriveBC (@DriveBC) September 14, 2023
Watch for and obey traffic controllers.
Expect minor delays and watch for fire crews.
ℹ️https://t.co/I1ry4r77Rb#Kelowna #VernonBC pic.twitter.com/YZlULt0K7M
The McDougall Creek wildfire remains out of control and a wildfire of note in the province. It is 13,970.4 hectares in size.