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Kelowna wildfire remains held, evacuation alerts remain in effect

The Walroy Lake wildfire has been experiencing low fire activity

Two weeks after it ignited, the Walroy Lake wildfire in Kelowna looks to be coming to an end but the destruction it left will cause a lasting impact.

On Thursday, Aug. 24, BC Wildfire Services announced the blaze was now being held, meaning it’s unlikely to spread beyond predetermined boundaries. Later that day, Kelowna residents in the Glenmore and Wilden areas felt relief as they were finally able to head home when evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts.

But some people along Glenmore Road, just north of the John Hindle Road intersection weren’t as lucky as they didn’t have homes to return to. Central Okanagan Emergency Operations confirmed four structures were damaged as a result of the blaze.

At this time, the fire is still being held and the Glenmore and Wilden area remains on evacuation alert, meaning residents must have a go-bag at the ready in case fire activity increases.

The Glenmore Landfill was also partly damaged as a result of the fire but reopened to the public on Monday, Aug. 28. During the blaze, the only structure that received significant damage was the gas management system while all of its critical infrastructure remained untouched.

“It could’ve been much worse,” said Scott Hoekstra, landfill and compost operations manager.

The public can access the landfill’s waste transfer station and recycling depot but only household waste will be accepted to start. Compost sales will also resumed on Monday. When the landfill is fully operational again, drywall, concrete, clean wood, branches, yard waste and other waste categories will be accepted.

Over the last few days, fire behaviour has remained low but an additional 100 firefighters from South Africa arrived at the Grouse Complex camp on Aug. 28. On Tuesday, those firefighters joined ground crews at the blaze. Firefighters remain on scene to take care of hot spots that occur but structure protection equipment has demobilized.

The Walroy Lake wildfire is in a Grouse Complex with the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna and the Clarke Creek wildfire in Lake Country.

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.

The wildfire that ripped through Glenmore and Wilden reached 733 hectares in size. While BC Wildfire Services states the cause of the fire remains under investigation, it’s certain the blaze ignited after strong wings blew embers from the McDougall Creek wildfire over Okanagan Lake onto the Kelowna side.

READ MORE: West Kelowna wildfire sees no overnight changes despite increased winds

READ MORE: Kelowna’s OK Corral hosts the Stop and Step Wildfire Fundraiser


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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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