WESTSIDE ROAD WILDFIRE UPDATE: Air activity in fire battle today; evacuation order still in place
Contributed/Central Okanagan Emergency Operations
Smoke fills the sky near the Westside Road wildfire, July 21, 2015.
(ADAM PROSKIW / iNFOnews.ca)
July 23, 2015 - 12:46 PM
KELOWNA – It’s expected there will be aerial activity with at least four helicopters working today along with 60 BC Wildfire Service firefighters and equipment on the ground in the attack against the Westside Road wildfire.
The fire area is located approximately 17 kilometers northwest of downtown Kelowna. Both the City of Kelowna and City of West Kelowna are located well away from the actual fire scene.
The BC Wildfire Service says it will be reinforcing retardant lines today, July 23, laid down late yesterday by aircraft along the southern and northern flanks of the active 460-hectare fire. Crews will also be mopping up the area along Westside Road.
This wildfire is still considered as potentially aggressive and as a result in the interest of public safety the Evacuation Order remains in effect for approximately 70 homes along Westside Road.
Those properties within the Evacuation area are along Westside Road from Denison Road north to La Casa Resort (but not including La Casa), as well as the following roads: Denison Road, Shelter Cove Road and Deighton Road.
There are no Evacuation Alerts associated with this fire. Neither La Casa Resort nor Lake Okanagan Resort are under the Evacuation Order or Alert at this time.
BC Hydro delivered diesel generating units to West Kelowna this morning, July 23, to provide power, on a temporary basis, to about 1,000 customers who have been without electricity since Monday due to the Westside Road wildfire. BC Hydro crews are currently working on integrating the units into the power system and hope to have the units running on Friday.
The temporary units will provide continuous electricity to the customers that are receiving power on a rotational basis and the La Casa subdivision. Customers directly in the fire zone will remain without power until BC Hydro is permitted access to the area impacted by the fire.
Until the generating units are running, BC Hydro will continue to provide power on a rotating basis to customers. There are three rotations, each six hours long and providing power to 300 customers at a time. If system conditions permit, BC Hydro will add additional customers to these rotations.
BC Hydro is asking impacted customers to minimize their power usage until the wildfire has been contained and we are able to fully repair our system. Please plug in and turn on only what is necessary.
Residents outside the Evacuation Area affected by the rotating electrical service may wish to consider fire-related health and safety information provided by Interior Health. The agency says if the power has been out in your home, the food in your fridge or freezer may no longer be safe to eat. Interior Health suggests ‘When in doubt, throw it out’ and you should not take any chances with the safety of your food.
For more specific information related to health and safety due to the Shelter Cove/Westside Road fire visit the IH website.
Residents serviced by either the Traders Cove or North Westside transfer stations can dispose of any items of concern during the normal operating hours. The North Westside facility is open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The Traders Cove station is open Wednesday from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
RCMP security continues today both on land and the water. Okanagan Lake boaters are encouraged to continue to watch for helicopters and skimmers that may be working this fire and stay well away from the Evacuation area.
The Emergency Support Services Reception Centre in the Westside Lions Community Hall at 2466 Main Street in West Kelowna is open to provide assistance to those residents that are on Evacuation Order. Emergency Management BC has approved an extension of accommodation for those registered for up to 72 hours, should that be needed.
Westside Road remains closed between Cinnabar Creek and La Casa Resort. Westside Road remains open in both directions from the north to La Casa Resort and from the south to the closure at Cinnabar Creek. For the latest road information, visit the Drive B.C. website.
For the most up-to-date information on the fire visit cordemergency.ca.
— This story was updated at 12:45 p.m., Thursday, July 23, 2015 to include new information from the Emergency Operations Centre.
— This story was updated at 1:14 p.m., Thursday, July 23, 2015 to include new information from B.C.Hydro about supplying generators.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015