B.C. wildfires: 405 properties still under evacuation order for McDougall Creek blaze



Just over 400 properties in the Central Okanagan are still on evacuation order due to the nearly month-old McDougall Creek wildfire.

The fire, discovered on Aug. 15, is currently estimated at 13,712 hectares, though planned backburns earlier this week will likely increase that size.

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Wildfire impacts on wildlife in the Okanagan

The fire is actively burning above the Powers Creek drainage located near the Glenrosa neighbourhood of West Kelowna, and four evacuation orders spanning a large area are in effect, along with several evacuation alerts.

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An area restriction is also in effect, which has been extended until Sept. 15.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says as firefighting efforts continue, getting residents back into their neighbourhoods safely continues to be a top priority.

“We recognize that some residents have been out of their homes for several weeks now and the ongoing displacement is incredibly challenging, but these areas are not yet safe for the public to return,” said Sally Ginter,  emergency operations director.

“Crews are working around the clock to restore critical infrastructure to ensure residents are able to return safely.”

Of the 405 properties, 122 are within West Kelowna city limits, with the remaining 283 within the regional district’s Electoral West area.

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Another 12,303 properties are on evacuation alert.

On Friday, residents of Wilson’s Landing were granted a four-hour time window to check on their property and grab needed items despite the area being under an evacuation order.

No further temporary access is being permitted during the weekend, with the Emergency Operations staying residents won’t be allowed to access their properties until evacuation orders are downgraded.

“This allows crews in wildfire-affected areas to make headway, which will help bring residents home as soon as possible,” said Emergency Operations, adding that it’s trying to balance the needs of residents with interrupting wildfire work.

Residents of Bear Creek, Rose Valley North and Raymer/Sail View Bay had their temporary access postponed while a hazard assessment of an unknown odour continues.

Click to play video: '‘It’s like driving through a war zone,’ fire evacuees return home in the North Shuswap.'

‘It’s like driving through a war zone,’ fire evacuees return home in the North Shuswap.

As of Saturday, 246 wildland firefighters are battling the blaze, along with nine aircraft, 39 pieces of heavy equipment and seven structure protection personnel.

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“Residents in alert areas are reminded the McDougall Creek wildfire status is noted as out-of-control and can change quickly,” said Emergency Operations.

“Residents are reminded to be ready with a grab-and-go bag to leave at a moment’s notice and be away from home for an extended period.”

In related news, Kelowna RCMP issued a reminder that designated areas along Okanagan Lake are off-limits, and that boaters are required to stay off the water north of the William R. Bennett Bridge to Fintry Provincial Park.

That area includes boaters trying to access closed sections of Westside Road.

“There have been several reports of boaters trying to access that area from the water,” said police. “The RCMP will continue to patrol and turn boaters around if they are found in that area.”

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