Ongoing McDougall Creek Wildfire Forces Evacuation of Over 400 Properties in Central Okanagan

Central Okanagan

In the Central Okanagan region, the nearly month-old Ongoing McDougall Creek Wildfire Forces Evacuation of Over 400 Properties in Central Okanagan. Discovered on August 15, the fire has grown to an estimated 13,712 hectares, and ongoing firefighting efforts may further increase its size.

The fire is actively burning in the Powers Creek drainage area near the Glenrosa neighborhood of West Kelowna. Four evacuation orders, spanning a large area, are currently in effect, along with several evacuation alerts. An area restriction is also in place, and it has been extended until September 15.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations has been working tirelessly to get residents back into their neighborhoods safely. However, they emphasize that these areas are not yet safe for public return due to the ongoing firefighting efforts. Sally Ginter, the emergency operations director, acknowledges the challenges residents face due to the prolonged displacement and reassures them that crews are working around the clock to restore critical infrastructure.

Of the 405 properties still under evacuation orders, 122 are within West Kelowna city limits, while the remaining 283 are within the regional district’s Electoral West area. Additionally, 12,303 properties remain on evacuation alert.

While residents of Wilson’s Landing were recently granted a four-hour window to check on their properties and retrieve necessary items, no further temporary access will be permitted during the weekend. Emergency Operations emphasizes that access to properties will only be allowed once evacuation orders are downgraded. This temporary restriction aims to facilitate firefighting efforts and expedite residents’ safe return home.

For some residents in Bear Creek, Rose Valley North, and Raymer/Sail View Bay, their temporary access was postponed due to a hazard assessment related to an unknown odor.

As of Saturday, firefighting efforts involve 246 wildland firefighters, nine aircraft, 39 pieces of heavy equipment, and seven structure protection personnel. It is crucial for residents in alert areas to remain vigilant, as the status of the McDougall Creek wildfire is classified as “out-of-control” and can change rapidly.

Emergency Operations advises residents to be prepared with a grab-and-go bag for a quick departure, as they may need to be away from their homes for an extended period. Know more in Wikipedia: Wildfire

Sumann Senguptaa

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