UPDATE: Hundreds of White Rock Lake wildfire evacuees can return home

Portions of OKIB, Westside Road, Spallumcheen downgraded to alert

A Killarney Place home burns to the ground off Westside Road early Monday, Aug. 16. (Ashley Bridgen photo)

UPDATE (5:00 p.m.):

Many can return home as the Regional District of Central Okanagan, Okanagan Indian Band and the Township of Spallumcheen downgrade evacuation orders to alerts.

Spallumcheen residents previously on evacuation orders have been downgraded to alert. The township updated its statement just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17. Those previously put on alert are now cleared.

Residents do not need to attend the municipal hall for temporary access permits and can return home, however, must remain prepared to leave on short notice.

Residents of more than 600 properties in Fintry, La Casa and Shalal Road also remain on alert after the RDCO downgraded from the evacuation order that was issued Aug. 12.

“Returning residents are reminded that they may encounter various hazards on private properties as a result of the forest fire,” the RDCO said in an update just after 5 p.m.

The OKIB said at 5 p.m. areas north of Louis Estates to Irish Creek Road are no longer on evacuation order, but remain on alert.

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UPDATE (3:00 p.m.):

Residents evacuated from Spallumcheen due to the White Rock Lake wildfire will have their chance to go home for essential access only.

The Township of Spallumcheen is offering temporary access permits for those who may need to check on livestock or for other purposes deemed essential.

Forms can be dropped off at the municipal hall (4144 Spallumcheen Way) or emailed to eoc@spallumcheentwp.bc.ca.

For more information on the processes involved, visit Spallumcheentwp.bc.ca.

The evacuation order and alert areas in the township are still in effect.

UPDATE (1:00 p.m.):

The Okanagan Indian Band confirms 11 structures have been lost on its land from the beast known as the White Rock Lake wildfire.

A total of 10 homes and one business were lost, with an additional four homes damaged, the OKIB said Tuesday, Aug. 17.

“Thanks to the rain and drop in temperature as well as quick action from BC Wildfire and structural protection personnel there have been no additional confirmed structural losses within OKIB IR#1,” the band said in a noon update. The band received 10 millimetres of much-needed rain.

The OKIB has already begun to work on a recovery plan for its community, with more complete information coming from the EOC regarding the re-entry process for areas that have been impacted by the wildfire. A wildfire donation service may also be in the works.

ORIGINAL:

Rain helped slow fire activity Monday, but BC Wildfire Services said it won’t have a lasting effect on the out-of-control wildfire burning now at an estimated 78,190-hectares between Vernon and Kamloops.

“However, it is giving ground crews a chance to strengthen existing guards and establish new lines,” the provincial agency said in an Aug. 17 update.

Meanwhile, areas that didn’t receive much rain are more active, especially when the wind picks up.

Fire activity was extremely volatile Aug. 15, on all areas, BCWS said.

Local governments and fire officials continue to survey the extensive damages to more than 70 properties in the Regional District of Central Okanagan and Okanagan Indian Band land and work to contact home and business owners.

One-hundred and 43 firefighters from various departments across the province continue to work to protect homes and structures from the fire 24-7 in communities most affected.

More rain is called for Tuesday (Aug. 17) and cooler temperatures are expected.

Sixteen helicopters, 64 pieces of heavy equipment, 219 wildland firefighters, 143 structure protection personnel and 18 danger tree fallers are assigned to the fire.

Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect for the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, Regional District of North Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Splatsin, Okanagan Indian Band, Regional District of Central Okanagan, the City of Vernon and the Township of Spallumcheen.

READ MORE: Approximately 70 Westside Road properties significantly damaged due to White Rock Lake wildfire

READ MORE: Westside Road community mourns the loss of shop in White Rock Lake wildfire


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A Killarney Place home burns to the ground off Westside Road early Monday, Aug. 16. (Ashley Bridgen photo)

A Killarney Place home burns to the ground off Westside Road early Monday, Aug. 16. (Ashley Bridgen photo)