UPDATE: White Rock Lake wildfire could be contained in a week; still unclear when evacuees can return home | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: White Rock Lake wildfire could be contained in a week; still unclear when evacuees can return home

Smoke from the prescribed burn on the White Rock Lake wildfire, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021 can be seen in this B.C. Wildfire Service photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/BC Wildfire Service
August 31, 2021 - 10:25 AM

A successful controlled burn on the west side of Okanagan Lake yesterday has greatly reduced the time it will take for the White Rock Lake wildfire to reach containment lines.

“This has reduced the risk of further growth and impacts in the interface area, which is the area of the fire that poses a risk to structures,” B.C. Wildfire Service said on its Facebook page. “The area where ignitions occurred will continue to burn and produce smoke over the next several days.”

Containment may be reached in seven to 10 days because of the controlled burn, rather than upwards of six weeks it might otherwise have taken, the post said.

READ MOREGet ready to see smoke in Okanagan from huge controlled burn on White Rock Lake wildfire

A controlled burn on the west side of Okanagan Lake was successful Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
A controlled burn on the west side of Okanagan Lake was successful Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/B.C. Wildfire Service

By later this week, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre hopes to send out return to home guides to hundreds of evacuated residents and has scheduled a return home information session for them.

The returning home information session will be held via YouTube tomorrow from 4 to 5 p.m. here.

No registration is needed and the video will be posted afterwards. No questions will be taken from the audience.

The session will talk about the level of damage to homes, updates on efforts to restore water, electricity and other utilities, dangers that may exist, health and mental health supports and more.

A returning home guide is also being prepared and will be available here.

“This is a hard time for all the residents of the North Westside community, which includes the firefighters,” North Westside fire chief Alex Van Bruksvoort said in a news release from the centre today, Aug. 31. “I ask daily for your patience.”

The Ministry of Transportation is assessing the safety and condition of Westside Road and doing necessary repairs before a 31-kilometre stretch between Shalal and Irish Creek Roads can be reopened, the release said.

In the meantime, 1,316 properties remain under an evacuation order and 850 properties are on an evacuation alert.

To date 78 properties have been confirmed as having "sustained significant damage" and the fire has consumed 81,362-hectares.

READ MORE: Crews work to get handle on wildfire burning near Penticton

– This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2021 to add information on the returning home session.


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