78 homes confirmed damaged in White Rock Lake wildfire in Central Okanagan region

Planned ignitions on the White Rock Lake wildfire cause considerable smoke to be seen from nearby communities, including Spallumcheen, Tuesday, Aug. 24. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
View of the White Rock Lake wildfire from the industrial park in Spallumcheen Tuesday, Aug. 24. (Justin Ketterer - Contributed)
Paxton Valley area after devastating White Rock Lake wildfire. (Dan Newcomb - Facebook)Paxton Valley area after devastating White Rock Lake wildfire. (Dan Newcomb - Facebook)

UPDATE: 12 p.m.

Seventy-eight residences are confirmed damaged by or lost to the White Rock Lake wildfire in the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

These are in the Killiney and Estamont Beach areas and Beau Park area.

Communities in Westshore Estates, Wainman Cove, Ewings Landing, Upper Fintry and Valley of the Sun remain on evacuation order but have no reports of major structural damage.

“North Westside Fire Rescue has continued patrols in all neighbourhoods overnight. We have been incredibly blessed to have multiple other fire departments support our community in hardening homes and extinguishing small spot fires during the day,” said chief Alex Van Bruksvoort.

“Please have patience as North Westside Fire Rescue supports all agencies in bringing this wildfire under control, as all of us have the end result in mind to bring all of you home to the North Westside.”

BC Hydro continues to repair power lines to the affected areas.

“Residents were very appreciative of having the chance to temporarily observe their properties; and while it goes without saying that it was an extremely difficult day for them, and all who were there to offer support, homeowners were grateful for the opportunity to begin the process of moving forward,” said Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre information officer Jodie Foster.

“Our hearts go out to them in this difficult time.”

There is no specific time frame for when evacuation orders will be lifted.

ORIGINAL:

Members of the media will get an inside look at the Regional District of Central Okanagan’s evacuation zone today (Aug. 24), much to the dismay of some evacuees.

Some evacuees displaced by the 80,951-hectare lightning-caused White Rock Lake fire have spoken up on social media sharing plans to halt the “voyeuristic event.”

Resident Camilla Labine said the people of the North Westside are “totally against this.”

“We are currently organizing a protest or blockade of our residents to prevent media access as coordinated by the RDCO to our communities,” Labine wrote Black Press. “The public needs to be made aware of our outrage at such an unnecessary violation of our privacies and media porn which will add to our existing pain and stress.”

Westshore Estates resident Val Trevis echoes Labine’s message.

“Many of us do not want the media to tour our neighbourhoods but our concerns have fallen on deaf ears at the regional district.”

Meanwhile, Trevis said the majority of residents are still in the dark about the condition of their neighbourhood.

“Residents who tragically lost their homes have been contacted and they should be first priority throughout this disaster,” she wrote Black Press and district CAO Brian Reardon. “However, for 22 days now, we (the remaining evacuees) have not received one single update for our respective neighbourhoods.

“We are worried and waiting.”

A small-scale ignition operation took place Tuesday morning on the White Rock Lake wildfire, north of Newport Beach towards Irish Creek Road. Favourable conditions prompted the eastern flank ignition, aimed at removing approximately 150-hectares of fuels in steep, inaccessible terrain. Increased smoke from the fire is visible to nearby communities.

Crews are looking to target the northeast flank, in the area of Irish and Six Mile creeks, covering upwards of 3,000 hectares in a large-scale ignition.

The combined efforts of hand and aerial ignitions remove fuels that remain between the control line and advancing fire, giving firefighters the chance to gain control of the fire burning in the steep terrain.

Fire activity has been minimal but with warming temperatures, BCWS anticipates the activity will pick up again over the course of the week. Gusting winds of up to 30 km/h from the east-northeast are called for today (Aug. 24) and temperatures are expected to reach mid-20s by Wednesday.

READ MORE: Evacuation order rescinded for select Mabel Lake FSR properties in Bunting Road fire

READ MORE: Proof of vaccination to be required for B.C. sports, movies, restaurants


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B.C. Wildfires 2021Okanagan