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No OKIB structures lost to date in White Rock Lake Fire

Okanagan Indian Band update shows no structural loss, contrary to social media posts
The Okanagan Indian Band says no structures have been lost on band property due to the White Rock Lake Wildfire as of Sunday, Aug. 8, at 10:40 a.m. (Jerry Thompson photo)

Some good news from the White Rock Lake Wildfire front.

The Okanagan Indian Band said in a release Sunday morning, Aug. 8, that no structures have been lost due to the raging fire. Rumours of loss and misinformation about the fire have been appearing on social media threads.

“As of our update to the community at 1300 hours yesterday (1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7), OKIB has suffered no structural losses on reserve,” said OKIB information officer Joash Alexis.

Westside Road remains closed in both directions between Pinecrest Road and Six Mile Creek Road (38 to 46 km east of West Kelowna).

Structure protection personnel are prepared to defend Westwold, Falkland, Cedar Hills, Pinaus Lake, and communities along Westside Road, including Okanagan Indian Band IR#1. Structure protection personnel worked through the night and continue today with a roving patrol along Westside Road, prepared to defend threatened neighbourhoods.

Current weather conditions have stalled the White Rock Lake Wildfire in the Siwash Creek area, according to the latest update Sunday, Aug. 8, at 9:10 a.m., from the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“Throughout yesterday, temperatures dropped into the mid-teens with winds out of the southwest continuing to gust upwards of 30 km/hr,” said BCWS on its Wildfires of Note page. “Today, winds on-site will be similar to yesterday, south/southwest 10-20 km/hr with gusts 25-40 km/hr. Isolated showers in the vicinity will provide a slight reprieve through the weekend.

“However, where sustained winds align with terrain features high spread rates and active fire behaviour is still expected.”

Temperatures today, Sunday, Aug. 8, will dip into the mid-teens with light northwest winds. Into next week, a flat upper ridge will begin to build on Monday bringing warm and dry conditions back to the region.

The fire is still listed as Out of Control and around 55,000 hectares in size.

Predominant fire growth over the past 48-hours was along the eastern flank, west of Westside Road. This eastern flank is very visible to surrounding communities, and in certain areas, the fire is approximately 100-250 metres west of Okanagan Lake.

A list of evacuation alerts and orders can be found on the Wildfires of Note page for the White Rock Lake fire, including alerts rescinded.

Highway 97 remains closed in both directions between Salmon River Road and Monte Creek (6 km north of Vernon to Monte Creek).

Aerial resources over the next 48-hours will be the primary focus to reduce the rate of spread along the active flanks, as well as ensure the safety of ground personnel. Thirteen helicopters are assigned to the White Rock Lake wildfire and will be delivering water to problematic areas of the fire to support ground suppression efforts.

On the northwest flank crews will work on making progress on tying in machine guards and forest service roads.

Crews on the northern flank of the fire will work on constructing guard along the western perimeter of the fire north towards Highway 97. Where conditions are favourable, crews will support this guard with small-scale ignitions and water delivery. Crews will also work on establishing containment in the Adelphi Road area along the eastern side of the northern finger of the fire perimeter to protect this flank from growing towards Pinaus Lake. C

Crews along the southern flank of the fire will work to continue to hold containment along Beautiful Road. Heavy machinery will continue to work along Mowing Machine Forest Service Road to reinforce the road. Heavy machinery will be working on the construction of a control line from Beautiful Road heading east. This control line will serve as a contingency line south of the fire perimeter and will be established using a combination of forest service roads, lakes, and pre-existing machine guards.

Personnel will also be patrolling the fire perimeter to assess whether there have been any areas where the fire has crossed containment lines.

READ MORE: Armstrong rescinds, Spallumcheen stays on evacuation alert

READ MORE: Vulnerable residents encouraged to leave White Rock fire area

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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