UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.
Despite good progress being made on the McDougall Creek wildfire, it remains not held at 12,635 hectares in West Kelowna.
The community is still in an active wildfire stage in several areas, particularly in the West Kelowna Estates area.
A well-planned safe return home and recovery operation remains underway, which may include lot-by-lot re-entry for residents. Incremental stages of return will continue, and fire chief Jason Brolund indicated that the hard work of recovery continues very well but will take time. Further, essential fire suppression is also required in the hills above West Kelowna, which affects the timing of a safe return home.
Further site assessments have been conducted with updated property numbers having significant to full loss, according to Sally Ginter, EOC director and Central Okanagan Regional District.
In West Kelowna, the total number of properties with significant damage to full structure loss went up from 67 to 69.
The increase in two properties outlined today is only for West Kelowna, and there are no reported changes to structures on Westbank First Nation land.
Evacuation alerts and orders will be rescinded from the EOC today and over the next several days when it is safe to do so.
Safe return home factors include: ensuring that fires are extinguished in your neighbourhood; debris must be out of the way; travel to and from your home must be safe, including wildfire crews no longer requiring access to your neighbourhood; utilities must be safely reinstated, such as power, gas and water; and weather continues to play a significant factor in fire suppression and your safe return home.
In collaboration with Westbank First Nation and the EOC, Brolund will be focussing his updates on the West Kelowna wildfire areas moving forward.
The EOC continues to make personal contact with all property owners who have experienced significant damage or full structure loss to their property. This priority, along with everyone working as fast as possible to get the community home safely, remains paramount to all organizations involved.
BC Wildfire will continue planned hand and areal ignitions in several areas in West Kelowna that remain necessary to safely rescind evacuation orders. This proactive fire suppression work is extremely important and remains part of the safe return home process. The public will see active fire and smoke with this operation. If you are unsure of planned ignition areas in West Kelowna, contact cordemergency.ca or view information from BC Wildfire.
Those affected by evacuation alerts and evacuation orders continue to direct all inquiries to cordemergency.ca or call 250-469-8490 (local) or 1-877-569-8490 (toll-free).
For anyone evacuated who has not contacted ESS or visited the ESS Information Centre previously, call 1-800-585-9559 to learn more about whether online or in-person services would be best to help you.
As new data has been added to the online property search tool, West Kelowna property owners on evacuation order are asked to check this online website today for updated information.
Property owners who have been placed on evacuation order can search to see if their property has incurred losses by visiting cordemergency.ca/propertyinfo.
The EOC asks the general public to be respectful of this process – if you are not on an Evacuation Order please do not use the search tool.
Water consumption safety
The Do Not Consumer Order has been downgraded to a Boil Water Notice for the Rose Valley-Lakeview Service Area.
The Do Not Consume Order remains in place for the West Kelowna Estates Water System.
The Boil Water Notice for the Sunnyside/Pritchard Water System remains in place.
Stage 3 Watering Regulations remain in place city-wide.
City facilities reopened today
Multi-Sport Centre, Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre, Jim Lind Arena and Royal LePage Place Arena are now open for use.
Melted street signs, charred poles, damaged roads and debris removal will take time.
Road and street repairs will take longer to assess and complete in the most significantly impacted areas of West Kelowna.
In conjunction with this work, city utility repairs will also be completed (e.g. drainage), along with third-party utility repairs (e.g. gas, hydro, cable, etc). Even if a property has not experienced structure damage or loss, the neighbourhood area must be safe to return. All crews are working as accurately and quickly as possible to help get everyone home.
Curbside garbage collection
Homes that are not under evacuation order can resume putting their garbage and recycling out on the curb.
No yard waste is being collected at the curbside throughout the Regional District of Central Okanagan until further notice.
The Westside Transfer Station on Asquith Road is open regular hours; however, no yard waste, clean wood or burnt debris is being accepted.
For transfer station info, visit: rdco.com/en/living-here/westside-residential-waste-disposal-and-recycling-centre.aspx.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.
Just in time for classes to get back in session, a local school has been removed from evacuation order.
Rose Valley Elementary is now under evacuation alert, at 1680 Westlake Rd.
UPDATE 4:30 p.m.
More residents heading home as threat decreases from the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna.
The remainder of properties in Smith Creek on evaucation order are now on alert.
Residents are reminded that they should still have a grab-and-go bag ready just in case.
ORIGINAL 6 a.m.
Fighting the still out-of-control McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna has been a challenge for crews on the front lines.
A lack of visibility due to heavy smoke has been an ongoing issue, and over the past weeks, firefighters have been forced to pull back to safe locations intermittently as a result of dangerous conditions.
Despite the massive effort, and due to the explosive nature of the fire and its rapid growth, approximately 189 properties have been damaged. The number of structures damaged remains unknown as multiple buildings may be located on a single property.
Ten days after the wildfire entered the city, West Kelowna’s Fire Department is returning to normal day-to-day operations, and maintaining increased visibility in the city, and supporting the continued firefighting operations where necessary.
Several properties in West Kelowna and Regional District Central Okanagan Electoral Area West remain under an evacuation order.
Interior Health has started the return of long-term care residents to Village at Smith Creek now that threat of wildfire has been reduced.
Those properties, and others on evacuation alert, can be viewed on the Central Okanagan Emergency Centre Operations (EOC) website.
The McDougall Creek wildfire is part of the Grouse Complex wildfire which includes the Walroy Lake wildfire in north Kelowna and the Clarke Creek wildfire in Lake Country.
People with property inside of evacuation zones are now able to check to see the status of their homes.
The tool only applies to residents who had a property placed on evacuation order. It can be accessed on the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.