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White Rock Lake wildfire area residents warned of floods and more blazes

North Westside at higher risk because of severe damage caused by the 2021 fire
Thick smoke fills the air and nearly blocks out the sun as a property destroyed by the White Rock Lake wildfire is seen in Monte Lake, east of Kamloops, B.C., on Saturday, August 14, 2021. (Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

Residents on the North Westside of Okanagan Lake are again being urged to make sure they are prepared for possible overland flooding and wildfires.

That area is at higher risk because of severe damage caused by the White Rock Lake wildfire of 2021.

“Knowing the hazard related to the season or the geographic area that you live, or it may be a random occurrence, but you can build a personal plan just the same,” Sylvia Chow, regional manager at Emergency Management BC. “You can fill out information online to assist with building your personal emergency plan.”

Chow also urged homeowners to have a “grab and go bag” with a change of clothes, radio and batteries, food, water, a small amount of cash, and medications among other items.

Progress has been made in helping property owners that were affected by the White Rock fire, according to the Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO).

“We’ve been working very closely with Emergency Management BC, Canadian Red Cross, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resources and the Kelowna Fire Department,” said Steve Schell, recovery and resiliency manager. “Our office saw an increase in telephone requests with 17 callers seeking additional information to help understand our programs available to them.”

Schell also noted that caseworkers have completed capacity needs and assessments for 47 residents whose homes and buildings were destroyed or partially damaged, and have identified any gaps and supports available to help them recover. Another 50 residents indicated they did not require any help or did not respond to a request for assistance. The community services planning and inspection department also approved all 53 demolition permits that were requested to complete.

“So of those 47 assessments we did complete, 62 per cent were primary residences, 38 per cent were secondary residences, and of all those contacted approximately 19 per cent didn’t have any insurance coverage,” added Schell.

More information on available recovery programs can be found on the RDCO website. Going forward, Schell said the RDCO is working with the Canadian Red Cross to have case managers in place as soon as May 21. They will be able to meet with the public May 19 to 21 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Trader’s Cove at 175 Westside Road, and May 24 to 27 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Schubert Center in Vernon.

Read More: B.C. wildfires may be linked to 10% higher chance of brain tumours

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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