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More wildfire evacuated Joe Rich residents allowed home

The Philpott Road fire in Joe Rich just east of Kelowna, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
August 29, 2017 - 2:13 PM

KELOWNA - More than 180 Joe Rich residents from 81 properties were allowed home today, leaving roughly 88 properties still on evacuation order thanks to the Philpott Road wildfire east of Kelowna.

Some residents living on Highway 33 E, Cardinal Creek Road, Dion Road, Greystokes Road, Sun Valley Road and Three Forks can return home today, Aug. 29, but they are on evacuation alert and should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice if circumstances change.

A media release from the Emergency Operations Centre says 202 residents still cannot return home and, with wind in the forecast, may not be any time soon.

Highway 33 is now open to two lane traffic through the Philpott Road Fire zone as of 3 p.m., according to Emergency Operations officials. The road had been closed temporarily between Schram Road and Cardinal Creek Road to ensure the safe movement of emergency personnel and equipment.

For the very latest information on the status of Highway 33 check out the Drive B.C. website.

The wildfire that started Aug. 24 east of Kelowna forced more than 1,100 people from their homes, however crews have managed to keep all threatened properties safe.

B.C. Wildfire Service will have 95 personnel working on the Philpott Road Fire today, Aug. 19, with 15 pieces of heavy equipment. Additionally, four helicopters will be working to suppress the fire. Also working on the fire today will be 49 structural firefighters, employing 16 pieces of equipment, from Big White, Ellison, Joe Rich, Kelowna, Lumby, Naramata, North Westside, West Kelowna and Wilson’s Landing Fire Departments.

The weather forecast calls for increasing wind activity, possibly gusting to 40 km/h this afternoon which may make fire suppression challenging, the release says.

On Sunday, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre lifted an evacuation order for 263 properties, and about 600 residents were allowed to go home.  At roughly 11:30 a.m., yesterday, evacuation orders were lifted for 120 more. Those properties on Goudie Road, Peregrine Road and Sun Valley Road remain on evacuation alert.

For an updated, interactive map of the revised evacuation order and alert areas, visit the Regional District emergency website.

Emergency Operations says other than household pets, like cats and dogs, animals are not allowed back in at this time, due to the uncertainty about fire behaviour and the potential for evacuation orders to be re-instated if necessary.

The Emergency Support Services reception centre will be open until 5 p.m. today, Aug. 29, at the Willow Park Church along Highway 33 in Kelowna.

— This story was updated at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 to say Highway 33 had partially reopened to traffic.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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