Christie Mountain wildfire evacuees could be home this week | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Christie Mountain wildfire evacuees could be home this week

The Christie Mountain wildfire burning above Heritage Hills on the night of Aug. 18, 2020.
August 24, 2020 - 1:53 PM

Plans are in the works to get the people evacuated by the Christie Mountain wildfire near Penticton back in their homes this week.

The 2,035 hectare Christie Mountain wildfire is still active today, Aug. 24, but cooler temperatures are aiding in the fight. The wildfire was first detected Tuesday, Aug. 18, forcing the evacuation of the Heritage Hills community south of Penticton that evening.

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board chair Karla Kozakevich said at a news conference today officials are working on a staged re-entry plan for the Heritage Hills residents evacuated from 319 properties. The rescinding of the evacuation won't take place today, she added.

Both the evacuation order, and the evacuation alert for 116 homes in the upper Carmi neighbourhood remain in effect at this time, she said. An evacuation alert for 3,669 homes in the City of Penticton was rescinded earlier today.

“Advanced planning for re-entry is underway," Kozakevich said. "We must ensure the area is safe for homeowners to return, and that includes assessments from geotechnical engineers to assess slope stability and retaining walls. There are trees that may be dangerous and at risk of falling, possible damage to power lines and restoration of utilities must be fully investigated and confirmed safe."

She said RCMP and private security are part of the re-entry planning, and re-entry kits have been prepared for returning residents.

Properties will be grouped in sections and those sections will be allowed in with roughly an hour separating each one to ensure each resident receives a re-entry kit and to reduce traffic congestion.

“I understand this is a very stressful time for those of you on alert and particularly those ordered out of their homes. Please be patient, I know you want to get back to your homes,” Kozakevich said.

Further information will be shared as it comes available on the RDOS website.

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