A number of North Westside residents are able to return home today.
Evacuation orders have been moved to alerts in La Casa and Fintry, announced North Westside Fire Rescue chief Ross Kotscherofski during the Central Okanagan Regional Emergency news briefing Monday morning.
Residents returning home will still need to travel through Vernon and the north end of Westside Road. The road remains closed north of Highway 97 south due to the McDougall Creek wildfire.
“It is not safe to go through the south, we have power lines down still, we have danger trees still, we’ve got a lot of things that will affect that safe passage,” said Kotscherofski.
“We will be facilitating those people returning to those communities through information today.”
Returning residents will travel through Okanagan Indian Band and are reminded to be patient and slow down, as the speed limit on Westside Road is 60km.
Motorists are reminded that the Band is open range land and there may be livestock on the roads, as well as wildlife, and children as school is still out.
All properties north of Terrace Mountain Road along Westside Road including La Casa up to and including Fintry Provincial Park are now on evacuation alert: Barcelona Drive East, Delta Road, Dunwaters Road, Fairbridge Road, Fintry Delta Road, Fintry Estates, Gray Road, Kelly Placem La Palma Loop, Madrid Way, Marbella Loop, Morden Road, Muir Road, Santa Fe Way, Santiago Loop, Shalal Road, Shorts Road, Shorts Creek, Terazona Drive, Toledo Drive, Valencia Way, Verona Loop and the following Westside Road addresses - 7100, 7110, 7260, 7290, 7355, 6808, 7080, 7190, 7200, 7210.
Residents of properties on evacuation alert must continue to be prepared to leave their properties at a moment’s notice and be away from home for an extended period.
Residents are encouraged to check the map before heading home to confirm the status of their property: cordemergency.ca/map.
For the safety of the public and fire crews still working in the area, please do not enter naturalized areas. There are still locations where active firefighting is underway and dangers like downed power lines, hazardous materials, damaged trees, debris and equipment pose a safety risk.
The blaze remains out of control, but saw minimal fire activity over the weekend, allowing crews to extinguish hot spots.
Approximately 90 properties have suffered partial or full damage, with Lake Okanagan Resort and Traders Cover being the hardest hit.
Kotscherofski shared concern for those who have lost homes.
“The firefighters that I get to work with, we are with you, we are part of your community and we are experiencing the same thing.”
He also took the time to thank these men and women who have been fighting the fire.
“From the beginning of this event, when the fire moved in and started impacting communities, they were there working tirelessly saving homes and doing everything they could to make sure those who weren’t impacted initially weren’t impacted, as well as the North Westside community, that the fire didn’t move up into those communities as well.”
He requested patience, again, from those who are still waiting to return home.
“We do not want to send anyone back into the area if it is unsafe.”