Updated: Some Bear Creek Wildfire evacuees allowed to return home

Fifty-one properties along Bear Creek Road north of the Parkinson Road intersection have evacuation order downgraded to an alert.

Update: Central Okanagan Emergency Services says the Bear Creek wildfire is now 60 per cent contained.

With 46  B.C. Wildfire personnel on site Monday and 30 overnight, in addition to firefighters from Wilson’s Landing, West Kelowna and North Westside,  suppression work was aided by the cooler temperatures.

But an expected return to hot, dry conditions this week is a concern for firefighters and the public is being warned to be extra vigilant.

Westside Road remains closed between Bear Creek Provincial Park and Traders Cove.

The cause of fire is still under investigation. Earlier reports of downed powerlines near the provincial park campground sparking the blaze have not been confirmed.

 

Original story: The evacuation order for 51 properties along Bear Creek Road north of the Parkinson Road intersection including Dougmac, Rose Valley and Petterson Roads affected by the 52-hectare Bear Creek wildfire has been downgraded to an evacuation alert.

That means residents of those homes are being allowed to return.

But, according to Central Okanagan Emergency Services, the returning residents, as well as  those in 14 properties in the Pine Point subdivision off Westside Road, north of Traders Cove, should be prepared to leave their homes again at a moment’s notice because they remain on evacuation alert.

COES said 105 properties in Traders Cove and Bear Creek Provincial Park remain under evacuation order as crews continue to work on the active fire. Residents of those properties are not being allowed to return yet.

Westside Road remains closed between Bear Creek Provincial Park and Traders Cove.

On Monday, up to 8 p.m., campers evacuated from Bear Creek Provincial Park were allowed back into the campsite to remove their possessions, vehicles and trailers. Access to the provincial campsite will also be available for a limited time Tuesday, beginning at 8 a.m.

View the updated map on cordemergency.ca to see the current area under evacuation alert or evacuation order.

The Bear Creek Fire is estimated at 52.5 hectares in size and is 30 per cent contained. COES is warning returning residents that hazardous conditions may still exist on private properties. and they should watch for hazards such as fallen or wind-damaged trees.

Food safety is another issue. If the power has been out in a home, the food in a fridge or freezer may no longer be safe to eat.

Interior Health has provided information for residents returning to their homes at its emergency preparedness webpages which deals with exposure to smoke from forest fires, food safety, water quality and septic tanks and disposal fields.

Residents returning are also advised to check BC Hydro for updates on power outages.

RCMP officers will continue security patrols in the evacuated area overnight. The B.C. Wildfire Service will also remain at the fire site.

The Emergency Support Services Reception Centre in the Lions Hall at 2466 Main Street in West Kelowna will be closed for the night at 8 p.m. and will open again tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.