Okanagan Mountain Fire Watch

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Fire Watch Archive

 

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Monday August 18
Tuesday August 19
Wednesday August 20
Thursday August 21
Friday August 22
Saturday August 23
Sunday August 24
  Monday August 25
Tuesday August 26
Wednesday August 27
Thursday August 28
Friday August 29
Saturday August 30

Sunday August 31
  Monday September 1
Tuesday September 2

Wednesday September 3
Thursday September 4
Friday September 5
Saturday September 6
Sunday September 7
  Monday September 8
Tuesday September 9

Wednesday September 10
Thursday September 11
Friday September 12
September 13 - 30
  October 1 - 31
November 1- 30
December 1 - 31
January 1 - 30
February 1 - 29
March 1 - 30

 

March 1 - 30

COF Reports $350,000 in Contributions (March  8 - 3:35 pm)
The Central Okanagan Foundation has distributed more than $350,000 to date to individuals and charitable groups impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park Forest Fire last summer.

COF volunteers and staff spent approximately 350 hours during the past few months receiving and dispersing the monies that accumulated into two funds: the COF's Fire Relief Fund that received contributions from across the country, and the local media's Yellow Ribbon Campaign that collected from thousands of BC residents and visitors. Media members later requested the COF manage distribution of campaign funds. The COF's wrap-up report to the community details how $271,923 has been distributed to eligible individuals identified either through the Unmet Needs Committee or through the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society. With representation from the COF, the City of Kelowna and others such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, the Unmet Needs Committee met weekly to discuss and distribute funds to individuals with urgent needs.

"The COF also worked closely with Kelowna Fire Recovery Society to develop a process, a formula and an application form. The relationship with the City was critical to the smooth functioning of this group, and their assistance was invaluable," explains Janice Henry, COF Executive Director.

Six registered charities were also allocated $94,000 through a special COF grant cycle early this winter. Each of these groups incurred significant expenses or losses due to the forest fire storm; they are the BC-SPCA, the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, Friends of the South Slopes, the Kelowna Community Food Bank Society, Scouts Canada (Camp Dunlop rehabilitation), and the City of Kelowna for the Quilchena Playground at Kettle Valley. These grants reflect most of the COF's Fire Relief Fund of $88,000 plus a portion of the Yellow Ribbon funds.

In total, donations to the Yellow Ribbon campaign to date amount to $313, 813, with some donations still trickling in, and to the COF Fire Relief Fund, a total of $88,817. The approximately $36,000 that has yet to be allocated will likely be given out during one of the COF's two regular granting cycles this year. Application deadline for the next grant cycle is March 15. "We are confident it will happen over the next few months, especially as some new consequences of the fire may crop up this spring," explains Henry. She also noted that there is "talk of a commemorative project that may require some funding." Both the Yellow Ribbon and the Fire Relief funds held by the COF are flow-through funds, meaning that the monies are not endowed but used directly in the local community. Administration costs were not charged for management of these funds.

Fire Money Decisions (March  8 - 6:40 am)
City Council should find out this afternoon where the remaining money from the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre Society will be distributed. Chair David Rush is to make a presentation at the beginning of the council meeting. It's believed there may be as much as $450,000 left in the fund. Only six applicants received money from the Society as of the end of last year because they didn't have insurance. The unmet needs committee made decisions on about 250 applications. Last summer's Okanagan Mountain Park fire destroyed 244 homes in Kelowna and forced mass evacuations.

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March 1 - 30 Coverage


 

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February 1 - 29

Zimmermann Wants Answers  (February  29 - 7:16 am)
Kelowna Fire Chief Gerry Zimmermann has read the Filmon Firestorm 2003 Report on the internet. He is currently on his honeymoon in Mexico. He says one thing the report doesn't indicate is who is ultimately in charge in an emergency situation. Zimmermann plans to ask that chain of command question when he returns to Canada. Former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon has recommended that the B.C. government conduct controlled burns and selective logging of parks to reduce the threat of wildfires. Okanagan scientist Tom Chapman, whose home barely escaped being burned, has lobbied Victoria for years to introduce controlled burning to reduce the dry fuels in B.C. forests. However the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union has responded with a renewed call for increased provincial funding for forest protection and fire prevention activities.

Filmon Report Released (February  27 - 10:15 am)
Gary Filmon has presented his Fire Report findings to BC's cabinet. Filmon's 42 recommendations include prescribed burning, harvesting in parks, mandatory emergency plans, new building codes, better communications, more local decision making. Mike DeJong BC's Forestry Minister says he'll implement most of the report's findings.  Reaction from municipal officials including Barriere and Kelowna have been favorable.  Carole James, the NDP leader, wonders where the money is supporting the report's recommendations.  Click to hear Gary Filmon's full presentation to cabinet.  Click the button above to view the full report also (PDF Report 8 MB).  See also our audio pages of the Filmon Hearings.

Filmon Report Out Today (February  27 - 8:12 am)
The public will get its first look at the Gary Filmon report today at 9 am. The former Premier of Manitoba was appointed by BC Premier Gordon Campbell to look into how last summer's wildfires were handled and to help prevent a similar disaster from happening again. The report was handed over to the Campbell government a couple of weeks ago. It will be released at an open Cabinet meeting at the Legislature today.  The southern interior's CBC Radio will carry the report live.  We'll post a link to the report and provide an audio archive of the Filmon's presentation to the BC cabinet.

Okanagan Mountain Fire 2003 Exhibit (February  25)
The Okanagan Nature Centre Society will lease the City Park Pavilion between March 1 and October 31 to house an exhibit on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. The $1 lease includes the Pavilion and Hot Sands concessions.

South Slopes Logging (February  25)
City Council has extended the 4:00 a.m. start for logging operations in the South Slopes from March 1 to March 31, 2004.

Open House for Mission Residents: Drainage Project (February  23)
The City of Kelowna is holding an Open House for Mission residents interested in learning more about drainage improvements soon to be underway in their neighbourhoods.
Okanagan Mission Community Hall
4409 Lakeshore Road
Wednesday February 25, 2004
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The City has several drainage improvements planned for completion within the next eight weeks; all are designed to reduce the potential flood threat arising from the watershed devastation caused by last summer’s Okanagan Mountain Park fire.

The meeting will begin with a presentation by the City’s consultant at 7:00 p.m. City staff will be available to answer questions and residents will receive an information package outlining steps that can be taken to protect private property when a flood threat exists. Further information on flood preparations is also readily available on the Provincial Emergency Program’s website: www.pep.bc.ca under Hazard Preparedness.

The total value of all fire-related drainage improvements is estimated to be $2 million. The drainage improvements will include the installation of large diameter culverts and the construction of rock-lined drainage channels.

During rainstorm events, water flows over fire-impacted areas have the potential to be in excess of five times the flows normally expected, based on pre-fire conditions in these watersheds. Barring an unusual weather event, snowmelt is not anticipated to be of concern.

Residents can expect to see “muddy” flows in all of the creeks affected during this year’s spring runoff, and during and after spring and summer rains. Individual homeowners may also experience nuisance problems associated with mud/debris on property and on public roads, particularly areas that are below burned hillsides.

The fire ravaged the southern boundaries of Kelowna and over 26,000 hectares of land south and east of the city in August and September of 2003. Approximately 16,000 of those hectares are within watersheds that ultimately drain through the city. The extreme rainfall event and subsequent flooding of October 22, 2003 reinforced that significant changes to the hydrology of the watersheds have occurred.

With the virtual destruction of all vegetation these changes include the loss of evapotranspiration and the reduced interception of rain and snowfall. However, the most significant change is the creation of hydrophobic soils. Hydrophobic soils are water repellant, which means the infiltration capacity of the soil is near zero and water is not absorbed into the ground. This condition will improve over time, with a significant improvement in the soil’s ability to absorb water within three to five years.

To limit the increased risk of flooding in areas of the city accepting drainage off the south slopes, City Council endorsed a program of drainage improvements that will provide a service level equivalent to a one in 25 year rainfall event for the changed conditions, including hydrophobic soils for watersheds impacted by the fire.

The consultant’s report on the hydrological changes to the fire-impacted watersheds can be viewed on the City’s website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca under Department/Works and Utilities/Drainage/Documents.

Large Grinder Now at Work to Dispose of Fire-Impacted Wood (February  18)
A new “Diamond Z” 950 horsepower tub grinder, one of the largest grinders manufactured, has arrived in the Central Okanagan from Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The grinder is being used to dispose of woody debris from residential lots of one hectare (2.5 acres) or less impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Burned logs, branches and stumps will be ground into wood chips at Arthon Construction’s Crawford Quarry, and then trucked to Riverside Forest Products where the product will be used for power generation in Riverside’s Cogeneration Plant.

Approximately 1,500 cubic metres of woody debris now stockpiled at the site should be ground by Sunday February 22nd. Residents of these fire-impacted properties may drop off woody debris until Monday March 15th, at which time the grinding company will make one final visit to the drop site. Sun Oka Valley Transport will resume hauling the ground material next week, at a rate of approximately three large truckloads per week.

The City of Kelowna entered into a contract with Natural Resource Recovery Group in the fall to grind the burned or felled trees. Work began in November with a smaller grinder and continued through mid-December; approximately 3,000 cubic metres of woody debris were processed during that time.

The City organized the wood collection and disposal program to assist owners of fire-affected properties in their clean up efforts in a cost efficient manner. Trench burning of the woody debris resulting from the Okanagan Mountain Park fire was initially considered, but grinding of the debris is a more environmentally friendly option. Burning will only be carried out on any material unsuitable for power production.

Fire Report Ready (February  14 - 7:14 am)
The much anticipated findings of a review of last summer’s wildfires in BC are due to be released this weekend. Premier Campbell appointed former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon to conduct the review to assess what can be learned from the experience. Campbell says the review will be completed by tomorrow so new measures can be adopted before the 2004 fire season. He says the report will also create a tighter structure for provincial and municipal governments to deal with fire emergencies and provide a better strategy to release fire information and to seek federal aid. Filmon is being paid $100,000 to put together the report.

Regional Parks Fuel Modification Crews At Work (February  3 - 9:06 am)
Our Regional Parks will be more fire safe and over a dozen people will have full-time work through the end of the year, thanks to a partnership between the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the Government of Canada.

Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) is providing a grant of more than $470,000 through the Job Creation Partnership Program, while the Regional District is contributing over $197,000 and employing 15 people as Fuel Modification and Trail Building crewmembers. Three crews of five people are working to reduce the potential fire fuel threat in Regional Parks. They’re limbing, pruning and spacing trees, clearing underbrush and removing ground fuels that could cause a fire to spread within the boundaries of our Regional Parks. Regional Parks Manager Bill Kenney says, “This also helps reduce the threat of fire to neighboring homeowners, as many of our parks have urban interfaces. We look forward to the valuable work these new employees will provide for everyone in the Regional District. While there has been some minor fuel modification work done over the years in the Regional Parks, without the help of Human Resources Development Canada, we wouldn’t be able to tackle a project of this size.” The crews will also do some trail building.

There was incredible interest in the 15 new positions. More than 115 people applied for the Fuel Modification and Trail Building jobs. In order to be considered, prospects had to be unemployed and were either receiving Employment Insurance benefits or had benefits end within the past three years. It’s hoped that the experience gained by the crewmembers will benefit them in the future.

More Fire Money (February  2 - 7:08 pm)
The Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Society is about to get a large infusion of cash. The Kelowna Volunteer Fire Department will present a cheque for $396,500 to the Society just before a Kelowna Rockets home game Wednesday night. The money comes from the proceeds of a t-shirt sales campaign after last summer's Okanagan Mountain Park fire. The Society won't actually get the whole amount right now though. Volunteer Firefighters are holding back $22,000 from the actual donation until a decision is made on whether GST will have to be paid to the federal government. A total of 46,000 shirts were sold in the campaign, most of them in the Okanagan.

Brent Road Pays For Fires (February  2 - 7:08 pm)
Sometimes you have to see the power of Mother Nature before realizing the value of a service. That's exactly what about 45 property owners in the Brent Road area, just outside of Peachland's southern boundary, have realized after witnessing last summer's Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Now they are willing to pay the extra taxes necessary to have the services of the Peachland Volunteer Fire Department. Most of those residents have traditionally refused to pay more for fire protection services. The huge fire was across the lake from Brent Road residents but a wildfire in September came pretty close to their neighbourhood. The annual tax hike amounts to $80 on a $100,000 home, and property owners will also help pay to build a $57,000 water storage and hydrant system.

We Like Snow  (February  1 - 12:33 pm)
Drivers may have been put out by the heavy snowfall in the Interior this past week but the Kamloops Forest District has welcomed the weather. Regional Fire Control Manager Dennis Gaudry says the snowfall will help to prevent drought conditions that took place last year, causing unprecedented wildfires.

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February 1-29 Coverage


New Link: Check out CORD EOC Communications Web site. Link. (February 6  - 3:51 pm)

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January 1 - 31

Trestle Report Ready (January  22 - 2:11pm)
A report on rebuilding the Kettle Valley trestles destroyed by last summer's fire should be on the Premier's desk sometime next week. Local MLA Rick Thorpe says the price tag to rebuild the 12 trestles isn't as big as originally thought. The original estimate was roughly $30 million. Premier Campbell should have the report by next Wednesday.

Last Chance to Apply for Funds (January  21 - 3:08pm)
This is your last opportunity to apply for financial assistance from local fire relief funds. To be eligible you must apply by Friday January 30th. The relief funds will be distributed by the end of February.

Call the Fire Recovery Centre at 868-2632 to schedule an appointment. You’ll need to complete a Client Needs Assessment Form. Appointments will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Friday January 30th.

Again please call 868-2632 to schedule an appointment.

Across the Lake: The Fire From Our Eyes  (January  17 - 3:15 pm)
An exhibition running from January 6 to February 6 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts will showcase artwork by children who hold a unique perspective of the summer’s fire. Adjacent to the wildfire of the Okanagan Mountain Park, and separated by only an expanse of lake, children and staff from the Sensisyusten First Nation School have rendered their impressions of the fire. Kelowna law firm Berge Horn is the framing sponsor for this exhibit. Everyone is welcome to view the exhibit for free.

This exciting exhibition focuses on the work of students and staff from Sensisyusten (House of Learning) First Nation School, an independent elementary school situated on the Okanagan, Westbank First Nation reserve. The exhibition, curated by Gayle E. Liman, Artist-in-Residence and Art Educator at Sensisyusten, will run concurrently with the Alternator Gallery’s exhibition “Interface” (depicting how disaster is experienced in Canada in the 21st century), and the Kelowna Art Gallery exhibition “Looking Back: Reflections of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.”

On Friday, January 16, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. the Rotary Centre for the Arts will be hosting the opening reception of, Across the Lake: The Fire From Our Eyes. This opening reception is open to the public and the media, and is free of charge. The curator of the exhibit as well as featured artists will be present, and the opening will include performances by drummers and dancers from the Okanagan First Nation.

Gayle Liman is an artist/designer, independent curator and art educator who, works in a diverse range of media. Her formal education has been complemented by extensive travel and study through Latin America and learning gathered from indigenous cultures worldwide. Her primary focus in education is teaching and promoting the art of children. Ms. Liman’s art works have been exhibited in corporate, public and private gallery collections and include permanent installations in the Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Washington DC, and the Radisson Hotel in Miami.

Silver Star Park to Have Fuel Reduction (January  14 - 7:23 pm)
The Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection has approved a fuel reduction program for Silver Star Provincial Park to reduce the wildfire risk to the public, park facilities, nearby homes and the ski resort, Okanagan-Vernon MLA Tom Christensen announced today.

"A wildfire in Silver Star Park would pose a serious threat to public safety, park facilities and nearby developments," said Christensen. "By removing the pine beetle infested fuel, we will have a much better chance of suppressing a wildfire."

The program will focus on the removal of dead or dying trees which have been infected by the mountain pine beetle. Removal of the affected trees will reduce forest fuels which have increased over the years as a result of successful fire suppression and the mountain pine beetle infestation. The tree removal is planned to take place over three years. 

Commercial logging is not permitted in provincial parks; however, tree removal operations are permitted for ecological, health and safety or forest health purposes. While fuel reduction followed by controlled burning is the preferred method to reduce fuels, a controlled burn in the park is not an option because of the proximity to the ski resort and homes.

North Okanagan Regional District chair Stan Field applauds the tree removal program. "Silver Star Provincial Park contains more than $2.5 million worth of facilities, trails and recreational developments.  The adjacent Silver Star Mountain Resort located above the park contains over $500 million worth of facilities owned both by the resort and the public. Any wildfires in the park would undoubtedly threaten both the park recreational values and the
resort," he said.

The tree removal program was developed with, among others, the support of First Nations, resort operators, regional district and local recreational and environmental groups.

The Okanagan and Spallumcheen Indian bands are expected to play a significant role in the fuel reduction program.

"As stewards of the land, the people of the Okanagan Indian Band feel it is unfortunate that trees have to be removed. But the critical issue is public safety, and we are very supportive of working together to this end," Chief Lyle Brewer said. "This is a vital area for the Syilx-speaking people. The mountain has spiritual significance for us, and our elders speak of the importance of water from the mountain. Maintaining the health of these resources during this program is a high priority for us."

Chief Brewer also sees the need for collaboration between the band and the provincial government. "We also look forward to a longer term working relationship with BC Parks and other stakeholders in addressing resource management issues within the parks."

Spallumcheen Chief Gloria Morgan saidher band recognizes that the wildfires of 2003 have impacted all interest groups because of the volatile nature of our forests and the need for fuel load reduction.

"The Silver Star Mountain area is of great importance to the Splatsin people for many reasons and our elders have given us clear instructions that this area needs to be protected for our future generations," she said. "We anticipate managing forest health issues in partnership with government, industry and other First Nations. We are also looking forward to participating in jobs associated with salvage harvesting which addresses pine beetle infestations and the subsequent fuel loading."

The Spallumcheen Indian Band is working on concluding the details of a contract in partnership with government that will create salvage harvesting opportunities to deal with forest fuel reduction within Silver Star Park.

The Ministry of Forests expects to award tenures for the project by the end of the month, with work to begin in early February. BC Parks has already issued permits for construction of the roads and landings.

Pine beetles first appeared in Silver Star Park about 10 years ago. Since then, they have spread to cover about 600 of the park's 4,107 hectares. About 25,000 trees are infected.

Central Okanagan Foundation Grants Rebuilding Funds (January  13 - 11:29 am)
Almost $100,000 has been distributed by the Central Okanagan Foundation to six Kelowna organizations that were severely impacted by this summer's Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. Grants of $20,000 or more have been awarded to the Kelowna Community Food Bank Society; the Friends of the South Slopes; and the Scouts Canada-Central Okanagan District for Camp Dunlop Rehabilitation. Amounts between $5,000 and $10,000 went to the SPCA-Kelowna Branch; the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society; and to the City of Kelowna for the Quilchena Playground at Kettle Valley.

The majority of funds came from the Central Okanagan Fire Relief Fund, monies that were contributed to the COF from caring and concerned people throughout Canada.

"We saw such an outpouring of concern, much of it from Foundation friends outside our community, and they were looking for a fund that would deliver to the neediest constituents. We put together this special flow-through fund to accomplish that goal," explains Janice Henry, COF Executive Director. This means that none of the monies are endowed and are "flowing through" the COF directly into the community. The grant total was enhanced with a contribution from CIBC Wood Gundy.

The Food Bank Society and the SPCA participated fully in the forest fire rescue and relief efforts. Myra Canyon Trestles and Quilchena Playground were damaged by the forest fire and need to be resurrected. Friends of the South Slopes Society will rebuild recreational trails in the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. At Camp Dunlop, Scouts Canada needs to address a severely fire-ravaged area with reforestation and replacement of campsites, the rope course, and two bridges. The COF hosts two grant cycles during a normal year, as well as one from COFFY, the youth branch. The forest fires this year created the extraordinary need for this additional Fire Relief grant cycle plus disbursion of Yellow Ribbon Campaign funds, performed by the COF on behalf of the local media, which collected these fire emergency funds. The deadline for the next regular grant cycles of the COF and COFFY is March 15. The COF invested a principal pool of approximately $6.5 million in the last funding year, returning the interest to the community.

Fire Exhibition Contribution (January  13 - 11:29 am)
The Regional Board has given approval in principle for the contribution of funds toward an exhibit on fire ecology after last summer’s forest fire.  An initial contribution of $4,000 will be made to the Okanagan Nature Centre Society to prepare the display that it is proposing for the City-owned Pavilion in City Park.  After the exhibit closes in December 2005, a portion of the material created would be used as a permanent outdoor fire interpretation feature in Bertram Creek Regional Park, which was substantially burned by the forest fire.  A further $8,000 Regional District contribution could be made pending approval of the 2004 Five-year Financial Plan.

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January 1-31 Coverage


 

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December 1 - 31

More Park Fire Money (December  31 - 6:51 am)
There's at least $400,000 left in the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre Society Fund. That's a conservative estimate of the remaining monies donated to help Kelowna residents affected by this past summer's Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. Janice Henry, Executive Director of the Central Okanagan Foundation, says an unmet needs committee has dealt with a half dozen applications for help over the past four months. Henry says the main criteria the committee looked at was the degree of loss and ability to recover from that loss. Those six applicants did not have insurance and Henry says their cases had to be dealt with immediately. They are now in the process of getting permanent roofs over their heads. Henry says her office has been busy the last week or so writing tax receipts for anyone who donated to the fund which included the yellow ribbon campaign. There is still time for residents to apply for funds. The final deadline is Jan. 30, 2004.

OK Fire Exhibit In The Works (December  24 - 8:54 am)
If everything goes according to plan, the City Park pavilion in Kelowna will soon be the home of an exhibit on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Officials putting the plan together stress they're still in negotiations with the city but the grand plan is to convert the vacant building into the Okanagan Nature Centre at a cost of $350,000 with funding coming from the private and charitable sectors as well as the government. The tentative opening date is next spring. The goal of the centre is to display the "causes, aftermath, and regeneration relating to the devastating forest fire" and is expected to draw "tens of thousands of local citizens and tourists" each year.

Park Will Be Rebuilt (December  18  - 7:07 am)
Efforts are under way to rebuild what was known as Western Canada's largest wooden play structure that was destroyed by the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. So far, $30,000 has been raised to rebuild the Kettle Valley Junction Play Centre in South Kelowna. The official cheque presentation was made yesterday at the Fire Recovery Centre on Bernard Ave. The original play centre was built by more than 800 volunteers in September 2000 and took only five days to complete.

"Time for Unity" Released (December  17  - 7:44 am)
Over 50 people attended the launch of a "Time Of Unity" Thursday.  It contains 200 full colour photographs largely submitted by Castanet readers.  See out photo gallery for more. While other fire books are keeping a portion of the proceeds of their books, this book has 100% of net proceeds going to the Kelowna and area Okanagan Fire Relief Fund. Hardcovers are $44.95 while softcovers are going for $29.95.

Since the book raises money for charity, they are hard to find as outlets demand a commission for carrying them.  The three local Save on Foods stores have graciously agreed to carry them commission free.  They are also available at Tiger Marketing located at 5-715 Evans Court which is near Dockside Marine off Highway 97. Call 250-491-0529. They can be ordered online at http://www.okanaganmountainfire.com/

Fire Book Release Thursday (December  10  - 6:44 am)
The much anticipated book dealing solely with the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is due to be released tomorrow. The book, entitled "Time Of Unity" contains 200 full colour photographs with net proceeds going to the Kelowna and area Okanagan Fire Relief Fund. Hardcovers are $44.95 while softcovers are going for $29.95. They will be available at Tiger Marketing located at 5-715 Evans Court which is near Dockside Marine off Highway 97. (250-491-0529)
 

Underground Fires Burning (December  7  - 8:57 am)
It's a timely reminder that some fires from this past summer in Kelowna are still burning. The Kelowna fire department had to deal with what they called a stump fire in the 5100 block of Frost Road near South Crest Drive around 6 o'clock Saturday morning. Firefighters poured a large amount of water on the small blaze and were keeping a close eye on it yesterday morning. Officials say the flare up is from this past summer's Okanagan Mountain Park fire where there are still small areas burning in the underground roots. The spot fire was called in just before 5 a.m. by an area resident. Both Kelowna Fire Department officials and the Forests Ministry say it will take a lot of moisture this winter to completely put out all the underground fires in the area.
 

Another Bad Fire Season Coming (December  5  - 6:54 am)
With the memories of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire still etched in our minds, Forestry officials are already predicting another potential disastrous season next year. Spokesman Kevin Matuga says while there is snow in the Southern Interior, it's not nearly enough to counteract years of drought. He says most of the snow the area is getting is at the higher elevations and the bottom of the Okanagan Valley needs a lot more to soak the ground. Matuga says the forest service is preparing itself for what it sees as another busy forest fire season next summer.
 

Live Christmas Trees Help Fire Impacted Areas  (December  4  - 8:45 am)
With Christmas only three weeks away many people will soon be choosing the perfect tree for their home. Anyone wishing to choose a live tree may be interested in an initiative of the City's Parks Division where living trees, donated by residents, will be offered to property owners who lost trees and landscaping due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.

Living trees, potted or balled/burlapped, will be collected in the Mission District Park parking lot off Lexington Drive. A sign will be posted indicating the drop-off area. Trees will be stored between December 27lh and January 15th. Parks staff will then coordinate their distribution to property owners in the fire impacted areas.

Anyone wishing to purchase a live tree should note these trees need to be handled carefully, otherwise their survival rate is poor Please follow these guidelines:

  • Lift the tree by the soil ball when it needs to be moved.
  • Keep the tree in a cool location prior to moving it indoors. Water soil once a week or as needed. If wrapped in burlap, keep the burlap moist but not too wet.
  • Locate the tree indoors in a cool spot, away from heaters or vents. Avoid direct sun from windows.
  • Keep a living tree indoors a maximum of three to five days. If kept indoors too long the tree's chances of survival are reduced.

After Christmas the tree should be moved to a cool but sheltered location (such as a garage) for a few weeks to allow it to gradually acclimatize to cool temperatures again.  Water as needed.

Burnt Timber Means Economic Benefits for First Nations (December  2  - 11:26 am)
Ministry of Forests Press Release -  The Westbank First Nation will benefit from an agreement to salvage fire-damaged timber, signed today with Forests Minister Michael de Jong. 

"We're committed to actively pursuing new uses of fire-damaged timber as evidenced by recent letter of intent the Premier signed with Chinese Academy of Forestry," said de Jong. 

"About 30 per cent of the wood burned in this summer's fires is of merchantable quality for high-grade construction products. "

"Last month, the province signed an agreement with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and Little Shuswap Indian Band to salvage over one million cubic metres of burnt timber in the Kamloops area. Today's agreement for some timber in the Okanagan is part of our ongoing effort to create jobs and economic opportunities for the regions affected by the fires. With agreements like this we're also meeting our commitment to increase the participation of First Nations in the forest sector." 

Under the agreement, the Westbank First Nation will be invited to apply for a non-replaceable forest licence for 100,000 cubic metres of timber damaged in this summer's wildfires in the Okanagan timber supply area. 

"Access to wood is critical for First Nations in British Columbia. The fire-damaged timber from the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is fully within the Okanagan traditional territory and is part of the Westbank First Nation's claim to resources," said Chief Robert Louie, Westbank First Nation. 

"The economic benefits from the timber extraction will flow through to not only Westbank First Nation, but to the non-native forestry sector as well." 

As part of the agreement, the Westbank First Nation agrees to an expedited consultation process for harvesting by other licensees. Fire-damaged timber in the Okanagan timber supply area will also awarded to existing licensees as part of their current allocations, and competitively to small business and major licensees. 

"The Westbank First Nation played a vital role in helping to fight this summer's forest fires - volunteering their land to house forest fire fighters," said Rick Thorpe, MLA for Okanagan-Westside. "It's only fitting that fire-damaged timber will be used locally and provide local economic benefits." 

The Westbank First Nation consists of 609 members who live mainly on the west shore of Okanagan Lake across from Kelowna. 

Overall, as part of the ministry's First Nations Forest Strategy, the Minister of Forests has direct awarded more than 4.3 million cubic metres of timber to 16 First Nations since September 2002. 

Fire Funding Initiatives (December 2 - 7:04 am) 
In an effort to offset the economic impact of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, two funding initiatives have been announced by Community Futures of the Central Okanagan developed in cooperation with the Economic Development Commission, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Kelowna and the BC Wine Institute. One initiative is a deferment of loan payments, principle and/or interest for existing or new Community Futures loan clients who have been impacted by the fire. New businesses will be assessed individually as part of the loan qualification process. The process will also allow each loan and repayment plan to be tailored to the needs of the business. In addition, a $115,000 non-repayable contribution agreement between Community Futures, the BC Wine Institute and Tourism Kelowna has been created to bolster the local tourism industry in the wake of the fire. Short-term marketing will promote the Okanagan Wine Festivals directly into Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, while longer-term marketing will promote the Okanagan’s golf, cultural tourism and eco-tourism industries. Tourism Kelowna and the BC Wine Institute are contributing an additional $40,000 to the program for a total cost of $155,000.

Fire Concerts Raise Quarter Million (December 2 - 7:04 am) 
The fire relief concerts put on by Canadian rockers Bryan Adams and Colin James have raised more than $250,000. The artists put on a concert at Kelowna's Skyreach place on November 6 before a sold out crowd. They also appeared in Vancouver and Prince George with $10 from all tickets purchased going to the fire relief fund. The three concerts generated more than $264,000. Kelowna will get $108,000 of that sum.

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December 1-31 Coverage


81 of the 238 homes destroyed by the fire are currently being rebuilt.  A further 88 building permits have been issued.  A number of the homes will be completed next month and ready for occupancy. (December  18  - 9:05 am)

At 10 am today at the Okanagan Mountain Fire Recovery Centre, an announcement concerning the Kettle Valley play structure lost in the fire will be made. (December  17  - 7:30 am)

The KVR Fundraising Calendars are going quickly.  Over  1,000 calendars have been sold in the first week. At this rate we will be sold out by Christmas. Link.  (December  10  - 2:05 pm)

The Okanagan Freelance Writers Association has taken on a fire related project called "Touch the Flame" – a sort of "Chicken Soup for the Fire Survivor's Soul".  They are asking people in the community to contribute their stories of the fire, thoughts, reflections etc., and their group will edit as needed and publish (if all goes as planned) sometime in the spring.  They have extended their deadline for submissions to March 31st. (December  10  - 6:44 am)

An audio archive of our live audio coverage of the Provincial Firestorm Public Hearings in Kelowna is now available. 

Fire Storm Hearing Audio Archive:

1. City of Kelowna and CORD presentation Nov 26th including Mayor Walter Gray, CORD's Robert Hobson and Fire Chief Zimmerman.  (MP3, 33 MB)

2. Full audio archive of Nov 26th presentations.  (MP3, 132 MB)

3 Full audio archive of Nov 27th presentations.  (MP3, 140 MB)

We have reduce the size of the downloads and improved the audio quality since its initial release.  Castanet Audio page link. (December  7  - 12:07 pm)

City Council has authorized staff to assess and remove dead and dangerous trees on City right-of-ways resulting from the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Trees that offer merchantable timber will be salvaged wherever possible. The project is expected to cost $80,000.  (December  4  - 2:02 pm)

Roughly $400,000 remains in local fire relief funds for individual needs. In order to be considered for assistance, individuals must fill out a Client Needs Assessment Form at the Fire Recovery Centre, 520 Bernard Avenue. Applicants are asked to call the Recovery Centre Office at 868-2632 first to arrange an interview. (December  2  - 5:58 pm)

MediaButton.com is releasing a Fire DVD "As the Fire Raged".  This is new version of the video seen here.  All net proceeds will go to Okanagan Charities.  Link. (December  2  - 10:14 am)

"The Okanagan Mountain Park, a Time of Unity" book will be released December 11th.  It's the only book where net proceeds got to charity.  Link. (December  2  - 7:08 am)

A KVR Fundraising Calendar has been released.  Net proceeds go to trestle rebuilding.  Link.  (December 2 - 7:04 am) 

An audio archive of our live audio coverage of the Provincial Firestorm Public Hearings in Kelowna is now available. Link. (November 28  - 7:55 am)

Forestry officials say whether the fire is completely out or not is not known as the fire can continue to burn underground.  If it is still burning it poses no threat. (November 25  - 7:55 am)

 

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November 1 - 30

 

Okanagan Freelance Writers Association  Calls for Submission to "Touch the Flame" (November 28 - 1:26 pm) 

The Okanagan Freelance Writers Association has taken on a fire related project called "Touch the Flame" – a sort of "Chicken Soup for the Fire Survivor's Soul".  They are asking people in the community to contribute their stories of the fire, thoughts, reflections etc., and their group will edit as needed and publish (if all goes as planned) sometime in the spring. 

 

Just as Castanet brought together a wealth of on-the-spot photos, the Okanagan Freelance Writers Association would like to give people the opportunity to tell their stories - and so many stories are yet to be told.

 

Everyone working on "Touch the Flame" is a professional writer volunteering his or her time.  All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to a BC disaster relief fund.

 

Click here for full press release, poster, and writing guidelines

Christmas Ornament Drive For Fire Victims (November 28 - 1:26 pm) 
Members of the Okanagan Guild of Needle Arts have organized a Christmas ornament drive for fire victims. They have been receiving hand stitched ornaments from across Canada and are nearing their goal of 330. They will also be sending ornaments to the Barrier/McClure area.  The ornaments are currently on display at Hummingbird Cottage Crafts on Rutland Road, and will be taken to the Recovery Centre for distribution about Dec. 1. The Fire Recovery Centre will be calling Kelowna victims to tell them how to pick up an ornament.  Call Heather Dalton at 768-9553 for more information.

Zimmerman Speaks Out (November 26 - 7:38 am) 
Kelowna Fire Chief Gerry Zimmerman will have some nice and not-so-nice things to say when he appears before the Okanagan Mountain Fire Review Panel today. The panel is being chaired by former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon. Zimmerman will tell Filmon how the local response to the fire worked well and how what a valuable role the media played in getting information out about evacuated areas and so forth.

But Zimmerman will have some negative things to say too. His biggest beef is with the Fire Commissioner's office and how it handled itself during the fire. For instance, Zimmerman says he had no idea that the Fire Commissioner's office had taken over command of the fire without his knowledge. Under a State of Emergency, the province has the power to set up a province fire department which has jurisdiction over all fire departments. According to Zimmerman, the provincial government decided to enact that policy without his knowledge. He says that caught him a little off guard.

"We had never discussed that before and when it was created there was nothing written down on how it would operate. So basically, we didn't have a clue on how this thing was going to run, where our boundaries were and who was in charge -- we didn't know those things," says Zimmerman who adds that things got a little testy between his department and the Fire Commissioner's office.

At one point Zimmerman was told by the Fire Commissioner's office that he could be replaced if he didn't cooperate.

"We had a conflict on one part of the operation. We had a plan to fight the fire in a certain area and the Fire Commissioner came to us and said 'no this is what we're doing' and at that point I said that doesn't make any sense to me and that's when the Commissioner made the statement that our boundaries do not exist and that I could be replaced."

Zimmerman will be addressing the panel at 3:45 this afternoon at the Grand. Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray will also be making a presentation. Castanet will be providing live audio coverage of the hearings.

Tobacco Makes Fire Contribution (November 26 - 7:38 am) 
The restoration of Myra Canyon is getting a hefty contribution from a surprising source. Operation I.D., which is a national action campaign designed to help retailers implement a zero tolerance policy with respect to the sale of tobacco products to minors, is contributing $250,000 toward the restoration effort. "The Okanagan has always been supportive of our efforts to put an end to underage tobacco access. Now its Operation I.D.'s turn to support the community's efforts in rebuilding Myra Canyon into a sustainable heritage, tourism and community asset," says spokesperson Helene Ouellet.

Fire Review Here This Week (November 24 - 2:35 pm) 
The provincial panel looking into this summer's devastating forest fire season comes to Kelowna this Wednesday and Thursday. Mayor Walter Gray and the City of Kelowna's planning director Ron Mattiussi are expected to make presentations to the panel. Public sessions are taking place at the Grand Okanagan Hotel. Fire Chief Gerry Zimmermann is also making a presentation at the two day session. Former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon is traveling around the province conducting hearings for the review.

Castanet will be providing live audio coverage of the Firestorm Public Hearings 1 pm to 9 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Check out our new audio page to make sure you have everything you need to listen in.

Seedlings Available Soon (November 16 - 8:35 am) 
The City of Kelowna Parks Division with help from Riverside Forest Products, will co-ordinate the purchase of seedlings on behalf of private property owners affected by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Although seedlings will not be available until the spring of 2005, orders must be submitted by November 30th in order that seeds can be sown in sufficient quantities. Many thousands of seedlings are required to re-forest fire-affected slope areas within the city of Kelowna. While Tree Canada has committed to supplying shade trees through its "Fire ReLeaf" program to assist property owners in the southern interior who lost their homes, many owners of larger fire-impacted properties are also interested in planting seedlings for slope stability and fire-green affected properties. Contact Ian Wilson At parks, 862-5580 ext. 572, to order a box of evergreens for $60 or $100 for deciduous.

Million Dollar Fire Donation (November 14 - 1:35 pm) 
It's a donation that will be tough to match. Interior Savings Credit Union has announced the creation of a $1 million community development fund to assist in rebuilding many of the public amenities lost to the recent forest fires. The fund will be dedicated exclusively to community-based projects in the 14 communities served by Interior Savings. It will cover the reconstruction of public facilities as well as community and non-profit projects aimed at fire and natural disaster prevention. “To help restore and rebuild the many public amenities lost to the fires, Interior Savings has established a $1 million fund,” says Barry Meckler, president and CEO of the Credit Union. “The Interior Savings Community Development Fund will be used to help rebuild our communities including our parks, playgrounds and hiking trails.” The fund will begin accepting applications immediately. The funding program will remain in operation through December 31, 2006.
 

Fire Bills Coming In  (November 14 - 1:35 pm)
It's just an estimate, but the Canadian Forces figures it will cost BC roughly $10 million for its services in helping to fight last summer's forest fires. More than 2,600 military personnel fought the fires across the province. Fighting the fires cost the provincial government $550 million.

Fire And Beetle Wood (November 9 - 8:18 am) 
Forestry crews are logging in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park to try and remove all the trees that were damaged this past summer. Ministry spokesperson Kirk Hughes says they hope to have all the trees out before next spring's breakup, otherwise they will be no good. Meanwhile Premier Gordon Campbell witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the province's Forestry Innovation Investment to study how wood affected by wildfires and mountain pine beetles in B.C. can be used in China. "A significant portion of the wood impacted by fires and the pine beetle is marketable timber, and we're working with our international customers and the B.C. forest industry to maximize market opportunities for that product, "Campbell said. "This is just one example of how we can open up new opportunities for our forest sector in growing markets like China to help create forest jobs in B.C."
 

BC Pursues Markets for Fire and Beetle Affected Wood  (November 7 - 6:20 am) 
Premier's Office Press Release - BEIJING, CHINA - Premier Gordon Campbell witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the province's Forestry Innovation Investment to study how wood affected by wildfires and mountain pine beetles in B.C. can be used in China.

"A significant portion of the wood impacted by fires and the pine beetle is marketable timber, and we're working with our international customers and the B.C forest industry to maximize market opportunities for that product," Campbell said. "This is just one example of how we can open up new opportunities for our forest sector in growing markets like China to help create forest jobs in B.C."

Under the letter of intent, the Chinese Academy of Forestry will work with Forestry Innovation Investment and B.C. researchers to find new uses for fire and beetle affected wood.

"This partnership provides an opportunity for producers and potential customers to find innovative new uses for this structurally sound timber," Campbell said. "It's a chance to develop positive opportunities out of two recent challenges for our forest industry."

Forest fires in B.C.'s Interior this summer affected more than 260,000 hectares, and an estimated 30 per cent of the forest burned is still marketable timber suitable for high-quality construction-grade products.

In 2003, 4.2 million hectares of pine forest in B.C. has been identified as infested by the pine beetle. An estimated 160 million cubic metres of that affected timber is of merchantable quality, and the province is already working with the industry to develop new products and marketing opportunities for as much of this wood as possible.

The province is also planning and pursuing other ways to bring fire and beetle affected wood to market. This morning, Minister of Forests Michael de Jong announced a direct award of over one million cubic metres of fire-salvaged timber to the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and the Little Shuswap Indian Band. The province also directed the Myra Canyon trestle task force to explore ways to maximize the use of local wood in reconstructing the trestles damaged by wildfires.

In addition, as Campbell announced at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, he is convening a special symposium on the pine beetle infestation in Quesnel Nov. 21. The symposium will bring together community leaders, industry and environmental representatives, forest managers, and forest health experts to identify solutions to combat the pine beetle and restore the health of B.C.
forests.
 

Restoring psychological health & well-being after the fires (November 6 - 9:10 am) 
A free public lecture entitled "More than just surviving: Restoring psychological health and well-being after the fires" will be given by Dr. Lynne Zettl and Dr. Edward Josephs, directors of the Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education (CFTRE) on November 11th, from 11:00 am ­2:00 pm at Manteo Resort, 3766 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna.  The lecture will include practical methods for dealing with the psychological and physiological effects in the aftermath of the BC fires.  It is not uncommon for people to have psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, memory impairment and relationship difficulties) and physical symptoms (gastrointestinal distress, headaches, asthma, neck and back pain, insomnia) appear months or even years after a major traumatic event such as a fire.  As well communities hit by a disaster often see an increase in substance abuse, violent and nonviolent crime, and divorce.

Dr. Zettl and Dr. Josephs are both psychologists who founded the CFTRE, a non-profit, charitable organization committed to training professionals in effective techniques for treating the symptoms of trauma.  They have lectured and trained professionals around the world including Russia, Portugal, the UK, the United States and Canada.  The general public as well as emergency service personnel and health care providers are invited to attend.  To reserve a seat for this event send an email to [email protected] or call 604-693-0090 toll free 1 866-387-2862.

Manteo Resort has generously donated their venue to hold this event.

Red Cross Fire Response (November 3 - 7:51 am)
The Red Cross has been working in cooperation with government agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure basic, unmet needs are taken care of for families and individuals affected by fires in the BC Southern Interior this past summer. To date, 520 households in Kelowna and Barriere/Mclure areas have come to the Red Cross for assistance. $400,000 in-kind gifts have been donated for fire relief and recovery efforts. $2.9 million in cash has been donated to the Red Cross BC Forest Fire Response Fund. The agency has spent $1.2 million so far, $850,000 in vouchers for clothing, fuel, occupational and school supplies, medical equipment, prescriptions, appliances and furniture. Over 600 Red Cross volunteers have responded to this disaster since it began.

BC Sends 200 Fire Fighters to California (November 1 - 8:09 am)
The out-going governor of California said Friday he was grateful for the fire help Alberta is sending to California -- the only problem is the help is coming from BC. Gray Davis told a news conference that he was grateful for the help the Premier of Alberta is sending and tried to thank Gordon Campbell but also forgot his name. BC is sending 200 firefighters and specialists, 65 fire pumps, and up to 10 air tankers and two so-called bird-dog airplanes to California where more than 2,600 homes have been destroyed by wildfires. The fires have also killed 20 people including one fire fighter. The good news is the weather is finally beginning to cooperate with light showers and cooler temperatures.

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November 1 - 30 Coverage


The phones are ringing off the hook at Castanet regarding some fires above the Crawford Estates area. Officials say it's a controlled burn and there's nothing to worry about. The burns will last for several days. (November 17 - 4:52 pm)

The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund is mailing a $1,000 cheque to all 238  families and renters who lost their homes in the fire.  An additional $600,000 to $750,000 will be distributed incoming months.  The fund is accepting requests for assistance until January 30th at 868-2632.  (November  13 - 5:27 pm)

The Thank You List has been updated to reflect St. John Ambulance Volunteers.   (November  12 - 11:06 am)

The Firestorm review team will have a public meeting in Kelowna on November 26th and 27th from 1 to 9 pm at the Grand.  They will be in Penticton November 25th, 1 - 9 pm at the Trade and Convention Center.  (November  4 - 7:34 am)

Gary Filmon has now set up a web site to gather input in his review of this summer's fires. (November  3 - 4:52 pm)

 

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October 1 - 31

Aerial Seeding Erosion Control Program (October  29 - 3:09 pm)
The Ministry of Forests is planning an Aerial Seeding Erosion Control Program for private and public properties in the South Slopes area between Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park and Bellevue Creek that were damaged by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. The program includes approximately 50 properties adjacent to Deeper, Varty, Bertram, Lebanon (Cedar) and Bellevue Creeks between Okanagan Lake and the 1,400 metre elevation contour line as well as properties located adjacent to the interface zone. Not all affected properties will be treated with aerial seeding as the target areas will be steeper slopes where vegetative cover was removed by the wildfire.

Eligible property owners are required to sign a waiver by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2003. Staff has already contacted the majority of property owners in the South Slopes area who have overwhelmingly endorsed the program. However, due to the short notice they have not been able to contact everyone. If you would like to take advantage of this program and have not yet signed a waiver you are asked to do so immediately.

If your property is located within the project area and within the City of Kelowna you are asked to sign the waiver at City Hall, 1435 Water Street. City Hall is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If your property is located outside the City of Kelowna, but within the Regional District boundary you are asked to sign the waiver at the Regional District Office, 1450 KLO Road. The Regional District office is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The program is the first stage of re-vegetation and erosion control in fire damaged areas. The seeding will help establish grass assisting with erosion control. Benefits of the program are expected to increase as the area matures. The grass mixture also provides forage for animals and helps to transform the soil back to conditions suitable for further natural rehabilitation.

Properties in the interface zone will be seeded with an interface seed mix as will all creek side properties. Crown forest areas above 1,400 metres will be seeded with a different seed mix.

The Ministry of Forests is hoping to commence aerial seeding early next week. The seeding, which is weather dependent, must be completed before there is consistent freezing on the slopes.

If you have any questions regarding the project or the eligibility of your property please contact Mark Watt, City of Kelowna, at 862-3339, local 343 or Stacey Harding, Regional District of the Central Okanagan, at 878-0151.

 

Kelowna Facing Fire Suit (October  28 - 8:00 am)
The City of Kelowna is facing a possible lawsuit over the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. It says it has received notice from a number of insurance companies that claims related to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire are pending against the city. "The insurance companies are seeking to recover costs resulting from claims made by residential insurance policy holders. The notices from insurers do not indicate the basis for claims against the city of Kelowna." The city says it does not consider itself responsible for any losses suffered by insurance companies.

Fire Fighters Paid This Week (October  28 - 8:00 am)
The cheques are in the mail. Premier Gordon Campbell says firefighters who battled this summer's wildfires in B.C. should be paid in full by the end of the week. Some firefighters and the NDP launched criticism at the Campbell government after it was learned that some firefighters were still waiting for their pay cheques. Campbell says local governments could have paid their firefighters if they wanted but waited for the province to cover the bills. The government has freed up $6 million for the payments.

BC Sending California Fire Aid (October  28 - 8:00 am)
The state of California has asked BC for some help in battling wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and killed more than a dozen people. Solicitor General Rich Coleman says California has asked for firefighting equipment. He says, so far, California has not asked for any fire fighters. More than 800 homes have burned to the ground and 13 people have been killed -- most in their cars trying to flee the flames. Meanwhile, officials say that at least two of the fires were set intentionally. They say if the people are caught, they could face murder charges.

Municipalities Get Fire Money (October  27 - 8:00 am)
The provincial and Federal governments' have written a seven million dollar cheque for the fire-ravaged B.C. Interior. Premier Gordon Campbell and Defense Minister John McCallum say the money will be transferred to municipal governments this week to pay firefighters overtime costs and other expenses. It is estimated that the money will pay up to 60 per cent of local government claims.

It can also help the rebuilding effort after the firestorm that hit the Okanagan and Thompson areas this past August. Kamloops Mayor Mel Rothenburger says the most pressing needs are damages to the forest and agriculture industries. There are also all the homes that were lost, many of which were uninsured in the Thompson area. Some 238 homes were wiped out in Kelowna from the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. Thousands more have suffered smoke and water damage and the cleanup will take some time. Most of the aid package is expected to be split between Kamloops and Kelowna.

Governor General Presents Medals (October  27 - 8:00 am)
The Governor General handed out medals while on a tour of Kelowna Saturday. Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson presented six exemplary service medals recognizing 20 years of work to firefighters in Kelowna Saturday at the main fire hall. John Kelly lost his home in the Okanagan Mountain Park fire in August. He said he was pleased to receive the long service award from the Governor General but it would have meant just as much coming from Fire Chief Gerry Zimmermann in front of his peers. Others awarded include Kelowna Assistant Fire Chief Sydney Lebeau, James Thompson from Lake Country, Nigel Watts from Salmon Arm, Martin Coenraads from Naramata and Eric Paterson from Kaleden. The Governor General and her husband also took a short walking tour of Kelowna's cultural district Saturday, and got a first hand look at some of the fire damaged homes in the Kettle valley subdivision. The day ended with an evening reception at St. Hubertus Winery. The Governor General was scheduled for an air tour of BC's Interior Sunday to check out more of the summer's fire damage and also handed out service medals in Barriere.
 

Tax Grab For T-shirts (October  27 - 8:00 am)
The federal government still wants its share of taxes due from the sale of t-shirts commemorating the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Kelowna Volunteer Firefighters sold 40,000 of them at $15 each but did not collect the provincial sales tax or the federal goods and services tax. The provincial government has since given up charging PST on the $600,000 brought in from sales of the t-shirts. But Ottawa still wants its money despite discussions about the possibility of a policy that could waive the taxes. That could mean as much as $40,000 not going to victims of this summer's fires.

 

Governor General In Kelowna (October  25 - 9:36 am)
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is due to arrive in Kelowna today. She's here to view the destruction from the Okanagan Mountain Park fire and will be making a medal presentation at the main fire hall. On Sunday, she will be travelling to Kamloops to view the fire destruction in that area and then return to Kelowna where she will be visiting students at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School.
 

Feds Provide $100 Million in Initial Disaster Assistance (October  25 - 9:36 am)
VANCOUVER - The Government of Canada will provide a $100 million advance under the national Disaster Financial Assistance program to help meet British Columbia's costs from this year's wildfires. The announcement was made today by the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of National Defence, and Premier Gordon Campbell.

"The Government of Canada is very concerned about the extensive damage that was caused by the wildfires in British Columbia," said Minister McCallum. "I have seen first hand the devastation that these fires caused. I directed that federal officials work closely with their provincial counterparts to make this advance payment available so quickly."

 "Federal auditors met recently with provincial officials to review damage estimates and to determine a reasonable advance payment in accordance with the existing national guidelines.  This payment under the Government of Canada's Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements will help to offset British Columbia's emergency response and recovery expenditures, and will allow the province to continue with its reconstruction efforts," added Minister McCallum.

"The federal government immediately responded to our request for disaster financial assistance, and worked quickly and co-operatively to provide advance funding," Campbell said. "I want to thank Minister McCallum and the federal government for their hard work to begin assisting the province right away with the costs we have incurred.

"It's important to note, the province has already committed an estimated $550 million in costs related to the fires, including $20 million in emergency shelter and relief for individuals. Today's funding will help meet a portion of the costs we have already incurred, and we'll continue working together to secure additional federal assistance as the province's total costs are assessed and finalized."

The funding is being provided as an advance payment under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements to assist the province in meeting immediate needs for response costs in several areas, including: fighting interface fires by municipal fire departments, Ministry of Forests' crews and air attack resources; provision of emergency shelter for fire victims and evacuees; and providing emergency operations centres, support to volunteers, emergency water treatment, transportation route clearance and extra policing.

The province will be considered for further funding for its response and recovery costs once a final assessment of all expenses is completed. Additional items for which the province will be eligible include recovery costs related to: watershed restoration to maintain safe drinking water; public infrastructure including bridges, fencing and debris removal; and reconstruction of trestles damaged on the Kettle Valley Railway to return
them for use as a recreational corridor.

To date, the province has identified an estimated $550 million in total costs related to wildfires, including $20 million in emergency costs for individuals to assist the more than 37,500 evacuees who registered for emergency food, clothing and accommodation. This includes $4 million for residents of Barriere, McLure and Louis Creek, $15 million for residents of Kelowna and the remainder for other evacuees provincewide.

In addition to provincial emergency services, several not-for-profit and community agencies have provided assistance to individuals, including $8.7 million raised by the North Thompson Relief Fund, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. To date, the North Thompson Relief Fund has already provided $1.6 million to 30 individual families for assistance, including individual allotments of $55,000 worth of building materials to construct new homes, with labour costs donated by other volunteer agencies such as Habitat for Humanity and the Mennonite Disaster Services.

The province is also working, together with the federal government, to develop other forms of economic development assistance.


Fire Caused Chute Lake Road Flooding (October  24 - 7:29 am) 
Thursday's flooding in the Lakeshore/Chute Lake road area can be attributed to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. A wall of mud and rocks came rushing down the hill during a thunderstorm and damaged a number of houses. Dale Beaudry with the City of Kelowna says that's because there was nothing to absorb the rain. "It was on a hillside with no vegetation to slow it down." He says the culverts couldn't handle the water and debris. One home at the intersection of Chute Lake Road and Lakeshore suffered extensive damage. Beadry says there's no question the fire played a role in the flooding. "It had an impact because there's no vegetation to slow the flows down and nothing got retained on the hillside -- it just slid right off." He says the same thing can happen again when the next rain storm hits the area.
 

Free Tickets For Fire Victims (October  24 - 7:29 am) 
Kelowna is giving away 100 free tickets to the Nov. 6th Bryan Adams Forest Fire Relief Concert. The tickets were donated from the concert sponsors. On Wednesday October 29th Mayor Gray will randomly draw 50 pairs of tickets from a list of individuals who lost their homes during the fire. Affected residents who would like to attend the concert should contact the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre before 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday October 29th to qualify for the draw. Residents may either call 250-868-2632 or visit 520 Bernard Avenue. Winners will be notified as soon as possible after the draw.
 

Bertram Creek Regional Park Hit By Last Night's Storm (October  23 - 4:04 pm) CORD Press Release
Another clean up is underway in Bertram Creek Regional Park, perhaps an indication of future runoff concerns and the need for erosion control measures.

The heavy rain overnight that was associated with the thunderstorm cell passing through the Central Okanagan resulted in minor flooding in a section of the Regional Park.  The drainage channel running through the east section of the park quickly filled with water.  As a result, mud and debris washed over the banks and into the lower parking lot.  A culvert, which allows the creek to flow under Lakeshore Road, appears to have jammed with debris on the park side, directing the water out of the channel and into the parking area.

Parks crews cleared the flood debris from the parking lot and have been sandbagging as a precaution, shoring up the creek banks to ensure any future water is directed along the creek bed.

Regional Parks Manager Bill Kenney says, “This is perhaps an early warning of what might happen as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire destroying much of the ground cover in the upper elevations.”

Fire's Economic Impact (October  23 - 11:10 am) 
A survey of 57 Central Okanagan businesses conducted by the Economic Development Commission in September shows the Okanagan Mountain Park fire had considerable economic impact on small businesses in the area. EDC Executive Director, Robert Fine, stresses that while the survey represents only a snapshot of the range of impacts experienced by local businesses, the total loss of $4,419,000 is significant. The average business incurred losses of $32,140. If 10% of area businesses suffered similar losses the total direct impact would reach over $32 million. EDC conducted the survey in order to ensure the effect of the fire was documented in some form and presented to various levels of government. As part of its business retention initiative, the study also provides insight into how EDC can further work with existing businesses and assist them in challenging times.

Ok Mountain Fire Not Out Yet (October  22 - 9:44 am) 
It may be hard to believe but the recent rain Kelowna and area got did not extinguish the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Forestry spokesman Kevin Matuga says it's going to take a lot more rain and snow. "Because of the drought conditions that we experienced last winter and throughout the spring, it's going to take a lot more rain to put the fire right out. There will still be hot spots burning below the surface." Matuga says those hot spots can as deep as three feet underneath the surface. He says two to three feet of snow up in the hills should extinguish the fire completely. Matuga says if that doesn't happen there will likely be flare-ups next spring. Kelowna and area got more than 26 millimetres of rain since last Thursday. That's more than the entire month of October usually gets.

Fire Mural In The Works (October  22 - 9:44 am) 
A giant mural is in the works in honour of those who battled the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Robert Kirkman, owner of Samson's soap shop on the Westside, says he got the idea during a sleepless night watching the fire approach the Mission area. He's hired a mural artist to paint the 13 metre long mural on the side of his building at a cost of $6,000. Work on the mural got under way this week and should take at least a week to complete.

Clarkson Expands Kelowna Trip (October  22 - 9:44 am) 
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson has decided to expand her visit to B.C. She's due to arrive in Kelowna on Saturday, Oct. 25 to take a tour of the areas impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. She will also be making a medal presentation. Clarkson has decided to expand her visit to the North Thompson after residents in that area complained the Kelowna was getting all the post-fire attention.

Restoring Park Costly (October  22 - 9:44 am) 
Restoring Bertram park following the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is going to cost nearly $100,000. The Regional District says it's going to cost $93,000 when all the work is done including removing the dead trees. It's applying to the province through the Provincial Emergency Program to offset some of the costs. Chain link fencing will also be installed along Lakeshore Road to keep people and vehicles out of the park.


Restoring psychological health & well-being after the fires (October  22 - 9:44 am) 
A free public lecture entitled "More than just surviving: Restoring psychological health and well-being after the fires" will be given by Dr. Lynne Zettl and Dr. Edward Josephs, directors of the Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education (CFTRE) on November 11th, from 11:00 am ­2:00 pm at Manteo Resort, 3766 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna.  The lecture will include practical methods for dealing with the psychological and physiological effects in the aftermath of the BC fires.  It is not uncommon for people to have psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, memory impairment and relationship difficulties) and physical symptoms (gastrointestinal distress, headaches, asthma, neck and back pain, insomnia) appear months or even years after a major traumatic event such as a fire.  As well communities hit by a disaster often see an increase in substance abuse, violent and nonviolent crime, and divorce.

Dr. Zettl and Dr. Josephs are both psychologists who founded the CFTRE, a non-profit, charitable organization committed to training professionals in effective techniques for treating the symptoms of trauma.  They have lectured and trained professionals around the world including Russia, Portugal, the UK, the United States and Canada.  The general public as well as emergency service personnel and health care providers are invited to attend.  To reserve a seat for this event send an email to [email protected] or call 604-693-0090 toll free 1 866-387-2862.

Manteo Resort has generously donated their venue to hold this event.

Quilts for the Child Fire Victims Available Saturday (October  20 - 11:08 am) 
Volunteers at a fabric store in the lower mainland has been collecting small quilts, meant to provide a "hug" for the younger victims of the fires. Fabricana Imports generously donated work space, fabric and batting to complete quilt blocks and tops donated by their customers, and has collected completed quilts as well. Donations have come in from all across the country, as well as two packages from Europe.

A representative of Fabricana will be in Kelowna on Saturday, October 25, to offer these quilts to children who have lost their homes to fire this summer. Children under the age of 10, whose homes were lost, are invited to bring their parents to Jordan’s Furniture at Kelowna Crossings Mall to help them select a quilt. Identification is requested.

Filmon Reviews Fire Damage (October  19 - 8:30 am) 
It looked like the early morning fog would cause a bit of a delay but former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon flew over parts of Kelowna affected by this summer's Okanagan Mountain Park fire on Saturday. The man appointed to review the British Columbia response to this year's wildfires arrived in Kelowna Friday evening. Filmon was in Kelowna to familiarize himself with the Okanagan before setting up an office in Vancouver and visited the Kamloops area on Friday. Filmon has to come up with a report for Victoria by next February which will give the government some recommendations for fire fighting in 2004.  He'll fly over the Barriere area today.
 

Tourism From Fire (October  19 - 8:30 am) 
The province's minister of water, land and air protection says the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire could turn into a tourist attraction. Joyce Murray was in Kelowna last week and suggested people are interested in seeing how the park will recover from the fire's devastation. Murray said Mount St. Helens, a Washington state volcano that erupted twenty years ago, has become a tourist attraction. The 10,500 hectare Okanagan Mountain park will remain closed over the winter. Officials will be removing burned and damaged trees and making sure marine recreation sites are safe for boaters next spring.

$2 Million In Aid (October  12 - 12:11 pm) 
Community service providers, co-ordinated through the City's Fire Recovery Centre on Bernard Avenue, have now met all emergency needs for food, clothing or shelter as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Approximately two million dollars in goods and services have been provided to more than 475 individuals through a number of agencies and community groups. That includes the Salvation Army, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the Mennonite Disaster Service, the Canadian Red Cross, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Lions Club, the SPCA and Noah's Wish Foundation. The services provided have been directed to individuals in need, and range from immediate basic items such as food, clothing and shelter, through to in-kind assistance with toys, counseling, school and medical supplies. The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society and a number of community service groups agreed to develop a housing strategy to address the long term needs of those who lost their homes and were uninsured.
 

A Great Big Thank You List (October  11 - 8:20 pm) 
In preparation for "Celebrate Kelowna" on Monday, we wanted to share with you the names of groups and individuals who helped with the fire.  Our list includes:

  • Emergency Operations Center Staff

  • Municipal Fire Departments who provided assistance

  • All Kelowna Fire Department personnel, including administrative staff at the main fire hall on Enterprise Way

  • Armed Forces Unit Participation

  • Reception Centre Volunteers

  • Utility Companies

  • Volunteer Groups

  • Government

  • Contractors

Putting together a list like this is big task. So many groups & individuals did so much. We know we missed a lot of names. If you can help us with names from your organization please email us [email protected] to let us know.  Click here for the thank you list.

Celebrate Kelowna Tickets Still Available for Those Who Lost Their Homes   (October  10 - 7:39 pm) 
Tickets for the Celebrate Kelowna ceremonies in Skyreach Place on Monday are still available to people who lost their homes as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. The tickets can be picked up this week-end at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, located on Highway 97 between Burtch and Spall Roads. Tickets are for immediate family members and identification must be shown.

The Recreation Centre is open:
Saturday hours are from
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Even those without a ticket will be able to enjoy and participate in the festival. A Jumbotron television screen will be installed outside Skyreach Place, courtesy of Shaw TV, to broadcast all activities.

The Celebrate Kelowna! festival begins with a parade at 10:00 a.m. on Bernard Avenue and Water Street. The indoor ceremonies begin at 12 noon and will run approximately one hour. An outdoor festival takes place in the afternoon in the Skyreach Place parking lot and the Arts Common (located between the Rotary Centre for the Arts and the Kelowna Art Gallery).

Free parking will be available downtown in both the Library Plaza Parkade and the Chapman Parkade. Shuttle buses will also be running between Skyreach Place and Trinity Baptist Church (Springfield Road and Spall Road) every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Celebrate Kelowna - Schedule of Events  (October 8 - 9:28 am)
The City of Kelowna invites you to the Cultural District to thank those who gave their all in fighting the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.  Come celebrate the rebuilding of our community spirit.

Program - Thanksgiving Day - Monday October 13th

10:00 am
Parade along Bernard Avenue and Water Street to Skyreach Place with Emergency personnel, staff and volunteers who assisted the fire fighting effort.

12:30 am - 1:30 pm
Commemorative and thank-you ceremonies at Skyreach Place.

1:30 - 5 pm
Outdoor family festival in Skyreach Place parking lot and Arts Common (adjacent to Rotary Centre for the Arts).

Admission to Skyreach is free, but will be by ticket only.  4,500 tickets available to the public on a first come first served basis (limited to 4 per person) at the Ticketmaster outlet at Skyreach Place.  Non ticket holders will be able to take in the ceremonies via outdoor Jumbotron.

Early Birds Got Their Tickets  (October 8 - 5:00 pm)
Dozens of Kelowna residents lined up outside of Ticketmaster at Skyreach Place Wednesday morning to get their tickets for the Kelowna fire bash set for Thanksgiving Monday inside the multi-purpose facility. Roughly 4500 tickets were available. City officials reported this morning their sold out. The city says a special block of tickets to the Celebrate Kelowna Festival has been reserved for those who lost their homes in the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. It says tickets for immediate family members are available at the Fire Recovery Centre at 520 Bernard Avenue until Friday. The Centre is open until 5 pm. In all, upwards of 7,000 people are expected to attend the event inside
 

Boost To Rebuild Trestles (October 8 - 5:00 pm)
The people trying to rebuild the Myra Canyon trestles destroyed in the Okanagan Mountain Park fire got a much needed boost Wednesday. Ken Campbell, who is the director the Myra Canyon Restoration Society, got a cheque from the Royal Bank of Canada worth $25,000. Engineers are currently doing a damage estimate of the trestles but it's estimated it will cost $15 million to rebuild. There's also talk of holding a national telethon to help generate revenue to rebuild the trestles.

 

Fire Victims To Get $1000 (October 7 - 8:08 am)
The Salvation Army has determined how much some of the BC residents directly affected by this summer's forest fires are going to get. It has raised $1.1 million in cash and an additional $2.3 million in goods. The agency says every family whose home was destroyed by the fires will be issued an emergency cheque of $1,000. It says compensation for those who have lost employment due to the fires is also being considered.  The agency says there area also has plans to issue $500 'pre-Christmas' cheques to each of the affected families in late November.

Celebrate Kelowna - Thanksgiving Day (October 6 - 2:18 pm)
The City of Kelowna is hosting a festival in the Cultural District to honour those who bravely fought the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire and to help rebuild community spirit.

The Celebrate Kelowna! Festival is appropriately being held on Thanksgiving Day - Monday, October 13th.

The community appreciation day will include a parade along Bernard Avenue and Water Street, a "thank you" ceremony in Skyreach Place and a community festival with family activities, educational and equipment displays, a barbecue and entertainment.

The parade will feature the Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band, members of the Kelowna Fire Department, RCMP, BC Ambulance Services, BC Forestry, other municipal fire departments from across B.C. that helped in Kelowna, Armed Forces personnel, ESS volunteers, contractors, City and Regional District staff who manned the Emergency Operations Centre and various vehicles and equipment used in the fire fighting effort.

Starting at 10 a.m. at the corner of Richter Street and Bernard Avenue, the parade will proceed west along Bernard then north on Water Street to Skyreach Place. Emergency and logistical vehicles will then be on display along both sides of Cawston Avenue together with forestry, contractors and utility company equipment. Cawston Avenue will be closed to traffic between Water and Ellis Streets from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ceremonies in Skyreach Place will take place between 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and will include speeches by Mayor Walter Gray, Fire Chief Gerry Zimmermann and others, as well as videos and musical entertainment.

Admission is free, but will be by ticket only. Approximately 4,500 tickets will be available to the public on a first-come-first-served basis (limited to four per person) on Wednesday, October 8th at the Ticketmaster outlet in Skyreach Place. The Ticketmaster outlet is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Even those without a ticket will be able to enjoy and participate in the festival. A Jumbotron television screen will be installed outside Skyreach Place, courtesy of Shaw TV, to broadcast the parade and all indoor activities. Viewing is open to all members of the general public and there is no cost.

The Celebrate Kelowna! Festival will continue out of doors following the ceremonies, in the Skyreach Place parking lot and the Arts Common (located between the Rotary Centre for the Arts and the Kelowna Art Gallery). The festival will feature an eclectic variety of displays, family activities and entertainment including dog agility performances, face painting, crafts, a petting zoo and climbing wall. In addition, six different musical groups will perform throughout the day on two outdoor stages.

Rotarians are serving hotdogs and beverages in exchange for a donation to the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund. Fire fighters will be selling commemorative t-shirts and hats; the proceeds will also be donated to the Fire Recovery Trust Fund.

Free parking will be available downtown in both the Library Plaza Parkade and the Chapman Parkade. Shuttle buses will also be running between Skyreach Place and Trinity Baptist Church (Springfield Road and Spall Road) every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thank You Winkler Prins Harmonie (October 6 - 8:00 am)
The Winkler Prins Harmonie held a benefit concert on Saturday in Veendam (The Netherlands) with proceeds going to the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund.   The event went off without a hitch despite rainy weather.   Forty  young musicians played for three hours outside at the Raadhuisplein, the square in front of the town hall. At the end of the concert Mr. Meijerman (Mayor of Veendam) handed out a cheque for 1,000 Euros on behalf of the
city-council bringing the total amount raised to 1,364.55 Euros. The Orchestra is still accepting donations for those not able to donate at the concert directly. 

Yellow Ribbon Fund Progress  (October 6 - 7:54 am)
The Yellow Ribbon Fund stands at $242,000 as of the end of September. The Central Okanagan Foundation is working as fast as possible to determine recipients of the fund. Monies were raised through local media for victims of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. COF Executive Director Janice Henry says "it will be a few weeks before we can determine who is most at need and how to best meet those needs." The COF is part of the Unmet Needs Committee, and is aware of Kelowna families who lost everything because they had no insurance.

Former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon To Head BC Fire Review  (October 4 - 2:39 pm)
PREMIER'S OFFICE - Former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon will conduct an independent and comprehensive review of the province's response to this year's wildfires, to assess what can be learned from this year's experience, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

"The response to this year's wildfires by emergency personnel, residents and the communities affected was exceptional," Campbell said. "At the same time, we have to learn from our experiences to ensure we're prepared for any
disaster. We have an obligation to openly and honestly evaluate what went well, and how we could have done better. I have asked former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon to pursue a full and open review and to report back to government by February 15, 2004.

"Gary Filmon is ideally-qualified to chair this review. During his tenure as premier, Manitoba faced similar natural disasters, including the province's worst wildfires in 1989 and the flooding of 1997. The lessons that Manitoba learned from responding to those situations will be invaluable to B.C. as we assess our own experience.

"All of us have questions that we want to know have been addressed. Were personnel and equipment deployed as effectively as possible? How can we improve the flow of public information during disasters? We want to ensure the public, especially residents and communities affected, has a full opportunity to provide their input and recommendations for Mr. Filmon's and the government's consideration."

Under the terms of reference provided today, the review will examine a full range of issues relevant to prevention, planning and response, including:

* Prevention strategies used for reducing the risk of interface fires;
* Command structure for responding to provincial emergencies, at all levels
of government, including decisions around deployment of personnel and
equipment;
* Provincial processes for ensuring full, adequate and timely communication
of public information during emergencies, and how it can be improved;
* The role of volunteers and how it can be supported and enhanced;
* The framework for federal assistance for abnormal expenditures by the
province.

The review will be completed and presented to the province by Feb. 15, 2004. It will then be considered by cabinet and publicly released, so that the province can learn from the recommendations and take any appropriate action in time for the 2004 fire season. The estimated cost of the review is $500,000.

 

Fire Book In The Works (October 3 - 5:00 pm)
The photos that Castanet readers submitted during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire have proven so popular, we have decided to make a coffee table book with them. Castanet, 101 Silk FM and Tiger Marketing have  partnered to produce "The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire - A Story of Unity”. It's an ambitious effort to donate a minimum of $50,000 and maybe $100,000 to the City of Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Trust Fund. The book will be 112 pages, telling the story of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire mainly through pictures. The focus of the book is to share the spirit and unity of the community, which was displayed by all the people fighting the fire as well as the encouragement and gratitude of local residents. Alex Fong (local artist) has also painted and donated an original painting to be featured on the cover of the book. It will be presented to Kelowna Fire Chief Gerry Zimmerman for hanging in the fire station Monday. More information on the book and print will be made public on Monday at a press conference. The book, which should be available in another week, will be selling for $29.95
 

Fire Party Thanksgiving Day (October 3 - 5:00 pm)
The City of Kelowna has put the final touches on the big party in honour of those who fought the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. The Celebrate Kelowna Festival will be held on Monday, October 13 which is also Thanksgiving Day. It will include a parade along Bernard and Water Street following by a big bash at Skyreach Place. Admission will be free but will be by ticket only. Roughly 4,500 tickets will be available to the public on a first-come-first serve basis on Wednesday, October 8th at the Ticketmaster outlet in Skyreach Place. The outlet will be open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. Those who can't get a ticket will be available to check out the action from the parking lot where a jumbotron TV screen will be set up.

 

Fire Assessment On Two Regional Parks  (October 3 - 4:08 pm)
Two Regional District parks are still closed and will remain so indefinitely.

Bertram Creek Regional Park and Cedar Mountain Regional Park were severely damaged during the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.  Residents are asked to please stay out of both parks because there are still hazards that pose a potential danger.   Dangerous trees that have been identified in Bertram Creek Park are currently being felled and will be removed.  A Forest Hydrologist is assessing both parks and is expected to provide the Regional District with possible erosion control and rehabilitation options.

The Regional District is checking its insurance coverage, particularly for structures that have been burned in Bertram Creek Regional Park.  Several washrooms and a gazebo were destroyed during the forest fire.  However it’s not expected that there will be any coverage to cover the costs of replanting and landscaping.

There have been several offers from community groups and from OKM Secondary to rebuild and replant the parks.  Once the restoration and rehabilitation plans are complete, the Regional District will welcome such community involvement.

Small Fire At Mission Creek Regional Park (October 1 - 4:14 pm)
It may have been just a small fire this afternoon at Mission Creek Regional Park but it reinforces once again how dry the ground has become.

City of Kelowna fire fighters responded quickly to the call around noon after flames were reported alongside a trail near the east entrance to Mission Creek Regional Park, just off Springfield Road.  A person walking along the trail spotted the fire, went back to their vehicle to get some water and on their return, found the fire had grown much larger and called 9-1-1. Fire fighters quickly doused the blaze, which burned about five meters of ground.  It’s believed a tossed cigarette may have ignited the fire.

The Regional Parks Department is asking everyone to be extremely careful, especially if they are smoking while using any of our parks.    A carelessly discarded cigarette or match could possibly touch off a serious fire.

 

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October 1 - 31  Continuous Coverage


Les Falk, retired Kelowna Teacher, former leader of the Kelowna Outdoor Club and longtime fan of Myra Canyon has written the poem "Voice of the Myra Canyon".  (October  28 - 8:00 am)

Daryl Taylor, the singer and songwriter behind the fire song "Time to Believe" has had requests from California radio stations to play the song.  Daryl hopes to have a full length CD out in the new year. A percentage of the sales will go to the "Time to Believe Foundation" that will help in the reforestation and rebuilding of disaster hit forests and parks. (October  28 - 8:00 am)

The Thank You list has been updated yet again. (October 27 - 7:57 am)

California Wild Fire news links City of San Diego, KFMB-TV CBS, NBCS TV, KOGO News Radio (live audio). 11 dead.  400 homes destroyed.  100,000 acres in size. (October  26 - 4:35 pm) 

The Red Cross has provided more than $1 million in food, shelter, clothing and medical supply aid to victims of forest fires in Kelowna and Kamloops.  (October  23 - 6:06 pm) 

Kelowna city taxpayers may have to pay up to $6 million in cleanup and repair costs. This includes  rehabilitation work in parks, removing dangerous trees, drainage work, and damage to some roadways.   The City is hoping to recover some of the costs from the provincial government. (October  22 - 9:53 am) 

The City of Ottawa declared October 5, BC Solidarity Day.  A teen band called BobCatGray led a fundraiser for the Red Cross the same day.  Thanks to all. October 19 - 8:28 am)

We now have some pictures of today's "Celebrate Kelowna" parade and activities at Skyreach Place.  Link.  (October 13 - 4:24 am)

Rob Dinwoodie, an Agrologist in the Okanagan Shuswap Forest District, has written and released a song "Put the Fires Out".  (MP3 4MB) (Album Cover JPG  101K)  Kirk Hughes, a Fire Information Officer, plays the blues harp on the song as well.  (October  9 - 9:52 am) 

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson will be in Kelowna October 27th to visit students at Const. Neil Bruce School and to tour fire affected areas. (October  9 - 9:26 am) 

Air Canada donated over 244 free tickets to help the Canadian Red Cross and for fire victims. (October  9 - 9:23 am) 

More information and online sales of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire book can now be found at http://www.okanaganmountainfire.com/ (October  6 - 2:46 pm) 

The cost of replacing the Trestles is now thought to be $15 million, instead of the earlier estimate of $30 million according to Dennis Frie, President of the Myra Canton Restoration Society.   (October 3 -  8:36 am)

"Time to Believe" songwriter DT and his company Radius Media Group are looking for video footage of the fire. We are doing a video for "Time to Believe" this month and are looking for contributing videographers footage for the song. If you can help out please call 250-491-2201 or e-mail [email protected]   (October  2- 9:24 am)

The KVR Passport Co. of Beaverdell would like to thank all the people who have purchased restoration t-shirts as a way to support the Myra Canyon Trestles Restoration. We have raised over $1300.00 so far, and we have lots more t-shirts for sale. $15.00 plus tax.  Visit http://www.kvrbiketrailpassport.com  You can also donate to the trestle restoration directly at http://kvr.acromedia.com  (September  29 - 8:46 am) 

David Nesbitt has created some Windows desktop wallpaper (1024 X 768) to commemorate the fire.  (215K JPG) (September  25 - 10:47 am)

Volunteers are needed to assist with set-up activities for the Celebrate Kelowna! Festival on Monday. Call 878-5317 or 861-9054 if you can help. (October 11 - 7:51 am)

BCTV is airing a one hour special this weekend dealing with this summer's forest fires. The episode is called FireStorm and will air Saturday at 7 p.m. (October 10 - 7:57 am)


2,500 copies of a special limited edition "Celebrate Kelowna" poster will be available at the Kiwanis tent in front of Skyreach Place Monday starting at 10:30 am.  Posters will be provided on a first come first served basis - limit one per family.   (October  10- 8:00 am) 

A meeting has been organized by former members of The South Slopes Residents Association for anyone from The City of Kelowna, all affected areas, who have been "impacted" by the Okanagan Mountain Fire. It will be held on Monday, October 6th. at 7:00 P.M. The location will be The Cedar Creek Community Centre, at the corner of Chute Lake Rd. and Chute Lake Crescent in "The Mission". The meeting will be for residents to openly discuss their emotions, feelings , ideas, etc. and where to go from here. The press is please asked not to attend. (October  6 - 8:16 am) 

A small grass fire broke out yesterday afternoon around 2:15 pm between Peachland and Summerland near Greata Ranch.  The three hectare fire was quickly brought under control.  Thanks to Devin Smith submitted these photos to us. (September  26 - 8:55 am) 

Three students at Okanagan Mission Secondary School are putting together a book with pictures of the fire for a class project.  They would like people to submit their pictures along with permission to use them for the project.  The pictures can  be sent to [email protected] (September  25 - 10:55 am) 

 

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 September 15 - 30

Provincial Park Closure Update  (September  30 - 4:32 pm) 
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection - The public is advised that many dangers continue to exist in a number of provincial parks as a result of this summer's wildfires in the southern part of the province.

The severity of the fires has created unsafe conditions including:
- fallen and unstable trees;
- root burnout holes in trail surfaces;
- loss of bridges and directional signs; and,
- slope instability and an increased hazard of falling and rolling rocks.

In the interest of public safety, the following provincial parks, as well as all trails and facilities within these parks, are closed to all public use until further notice:
* (Okanagan Region) Okanagan Mountain; Myra/Bellevue;
* (Thompson Region) Cornwall Hills;
* (Kootenay Region) West Arm;
* (Cariboo Region) Nunsti.

Additionally, the following provincial parks in the Kootenay Region are partially impacted:

Height of the Rockies
-Maiyuk trail to Connors Lake is closed;
-Middle White River trail to Sylvan Pass and trail to Pass of the Clouds are
closed;
-Goat Lake trail is closed.

Kokanee Glacier
-Woodbury Creek trails to the Woodbury cabin and the Silver Spray cabin are
closed.

BC Parks requests that visitors use extreme caution at these parks. Parks and trails will be reopened once hazard-removal activities have been completed.

For regularly updated information on specific park closures, and other provincial park information visit the BC Parks Web site at: www.bcparks.bc.ca.

Netherlands Orchestra Holds Fundraiser (September  30 - 9:17 am) 
The ‘Winkler Prins Harmonie’ (WPH) from Veendam (The Netherlands) is organizing a benefit-concert this Saturday in Veendam.  The goal of the concert is to raise money for the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund. The musicians aged 12 – 20 were in Kelowna in May 2002. They have lasting memories of the visit and want to assist with relief efforts.

“Winkler Prins Harmonie” is the orchestra of “Winkler Prins” in Veendam, a large comprehensive school with tradition for culture. The orchestra consist of about 60 (former) pupils, teachers and (ex-) staff members of the school. The conductor is Jack Horst, a former pupil of the school. He has been part of the orchestra since its foundation in 1977. In 2002 WPH celebrated its 25th anniversary by going to Canada for a concert tour.

Carrs Landing Fire (September  29 - 8:49 am) 
The entire Lake Country fire department was called out to an early morning blaze Sunday at 17611 Angus Road in Carrs Landing. The Ministry of Forests was also on the scene of the five a.m. fire which was fully contained in a few hours. Hundreds of litres of diesel fuel for a generator somehow caught on fire in an underground shed. The fire had also spread to the grass in a nearby gully but crews also quickly brought that blaze under control. Officials say no other structures were ever in danger.

 

Fire Near Westbank Yacht Club (September  28 - 5:00 pm) 
A small grassfire erupted near the Westbank Yacht club at about 3 pm Sunday.  Firefighters had the 100 square foot fire under control within half an hour.  

 

Keremeos Housefire (September  28 - 5:00 pm)
A home just west of Keremeos on highway 3 was destroyed by fire Saturday night.  Fire fighters responded at 11 pm.  It took over an hour to get the difficult blaze under control.  Fire fighters remained on the scene until 3 am.  A power line over the structure complicated fire fighting efforts.  No one was injured in the fire.
 

Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society Update (September  28 - 5:00 pm) 
Recently, there have been articles which have posed questions in respect to the distribution of funds by the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society. We thought it useful to send a letter which provides some further details in respect of the status of the society and the steps that it is undertaking to address the needs of the community.

The society was formed in order to receive donations which were being made for the purpose of assisting in the recovery of the City of Kelowna and surrounding areas, arising out of the impact of the recent Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

To date, the society has received direct donations of approximately $160,000. In addition, it is expected that the society will receive the net sale proceeds of the T-shirt sales undertaken by the Kelowna volunteer fire department.

Although it is not yet known for certain, it is expected that total donations available for the society to distribute will be in the range of $400,000 to $500,000.

In addition, you should know that our society has received no funding from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Yellow Ribbon Campaign or any other fire relief funds that may have been established to assist fire victims. In addition, we have no role in directing the distribution of funds from other agencies.

In addition to direct donations, the society met with and is co-ordinating its efforts with the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation Canada which, as you know, has distributed some funds directly to certain families that have been identified at this stage as having needs that are not met through other sources. These efforts have been done in conjunction with the society and in a process that was suggested as a result of meetings that have occurred between our respective societies.

Although $500,000 may seem to be a substantial amount of money, the society is very concerned that it ensure the relatively limited amount of funds available are used for the best possible purposes. Accordingly, we are undertaking a process designed to determine the needs of the community and will, upon conclusion of this review, decide, as a board, the specifics of the distribution of funds. The process of considering the needs is not yet complete and no decisions have yet been made. The society is working in conjunction with the City of Kelowna Recovery Centre, which is undertaking an unmet needs assessment. The preliminary results of that assessment have been provided to the society. In addition, the society has formed a sub-committee for the purpose of preparing a list of other possible recipients of the funds. We have also met with the Friends of the South Slopes, the Okanagan Mission Residents Association and others involved with efforts to rebuild the Myra Canyon trestles.

The society has also had a number of very useful discussions with the Central Okanagan Foundation, which also has funds to distribute, and we fully expect that our two societies will work co-operatively.

The society board is made up of 14 individuals that represent a broad spectrum of our community. We are fully mindful of our responsibility to fairly and equitably distribute these funds.

However, we expect that requests for funding will far outstrip the limited funds that we have available to us. As such, we expect there will be a number of difficult decisions that will have to be made.

Although the society is mindful that there is a desire that funds be distributed as soon as possible, it is very important that the relatively limited amount of money that is available to the society be distributed in a manner that does the greatest good.
If you wish to have input to the manner of distribution of the funds, we would welcome any such input. Please send your suggestions in writing, by way of email, to: [email protected]
 

David Rush, chairman,
Kelowna and Area Okanagan
Fire Recovery Society,
Kelowna

Kelowna Concert Connection (September  28 - 8:49 am) 
Officials say as many as 20,000 people attended Saturday's Fire on the Mountain concert in Kamloops. The benefit concert was put on to raise money and spirits for recent fire victims in the North Thompson area. The line up included rockers Matthew Good and Michelle Wright. The concert was free but organizers hoped generous donations would make up most of the proceeds. Matthew Good said "I think the one thing fire victims should know is a lot of people from Vancouver are thinking of them." Good added he'll be donating his concert earnings, between $5,000 and $10,000 after expenses, to Interior B.C.'s fire victims. Several of Good's friends and family were forced to evacuate as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire destroyed nearly 250 Kelowna homes in late August.

 

Forest Fire Review  (September  28 - 8:49 am) 
Premier Gordon Campbell says the review of this summer's forests fires will be independent, open and quick. He says the person heading the review will not be part of government and may not even live in the province. Campbell says B.C. did well in fighting the fires but things can always be done better.
 

Traffic Request - Please Avoid Fire Impacted Areas   (September  25 - 5:00 pm) 
Traffic volumes are becoming a problem for residents of the areas impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.

There are a number of additional vehicles in these areas as a result of the fire and recovery/rehabilitation efforts that are now underway. In addition people travelling slowly as they view the fire's impact are adding to the traffic volume and causing delays. Many of the subdivisions have winding roads and limited passing opportunities which exacerbates the problem.

As a courtesy to those in the fire impacted areas, the City requests that those without business in the immediate vicinity remain away. The public's co-operation is appreciated.

Wood Waste Disposal Options in  Fire Impacted Areas  (September  25 - 5:00 pm) 
The City of Kelowna has established a program for the disposal of trees and wood waste burned and felled during the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. Property owners should contact the Recovery Centre at 520 Bernard Avenue, 868-2632, to obtain detailed information on the options available. The Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8 to 6, and on Saturdays from 9 until 4. The information is also available on the City's website: www.city.kelowna.bc.ca 

Okanagan Mountain Park Fire 100% Contained (September  20 - 8:21 am)

Ministry of Forestry – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is now 100 per cent contained.  Fire size as determined by Global Positioning System is estimated to be 25,912 hectares.  The fire perimeter is 197 kilometers.

Fire fighters have made good progress in the mopping up of hot spots, infra red scanning technology is helping firefighters detect any residual hot spots that are not clearly visible.  Mop up and patrol will continue for the next few weeks and possibly until late fall.  Smoke may continue to be visible within the fir perimeter and will be monitored.

Planning and implementation of fire rehabilitation work is currently underway.  The initial phase involves rehabilitation of public and private lands affected by fire control activities.  This includes activities such as restoring natural drainage patterns, water barring fireguards and trails and grass seeding exposed soil.    

The public is reminded that  Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park and Myra-Bellevue Protected Area remain closed until further notice. Specific park and protected area closures, campfire bans and other restriction information can be obtained from park facility operators or the B.C. Parks Web site at www.bcparks.ca

For more information on the local Forest Service restrictions, closures and campfire bans, see the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch Web site at http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect/ or contact the local forest district office. For tourism information, contact 1-800-hellobc.
  Full Press Release.

More Parks Re-open – Bear Sightings (September  18 - 9:42 am)  
Six more Regional Parks are open for public use.  Parks staff has finished their risk inspections and removed any potential hazards in Three Forks, Eain Lamont, Gellatly Heritage, Glen Canyon, Mount Boucherie and Rose Valley Regional Parks.   Earlier this week they re-opened Mill Creek, Mission Creek, Kalamoir and the Woodhaven Nature Conservancy.  They were among 12 Regional Parks that were closed over the summer because of the threat of fire.

Even though we’ve had some rain, ground conditions are still dry.  Residents using any park are asked to use extreme caution and they should stay on trails.  Please don’t smoke in natural areas and if you do smoke, please ensure all smoking materials have been completely extinguished and safely discarded. 

Parks staff is assessing the damage sustained in two parks by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.  As a result, both Bertram Creek and Cedar Mountain remain closed as they contain many hazards and are not safe. 

With the start of the Kokanee-salmon spawning season, there have been many bear sightings, particularly along the creeks in Mission Creek Regional Park and Hardy Falls Regional Park.  Park users can reduce potential conflicts by staying well away when a bear is spotted, traveling in a group, making noise or carrying something that makes noise (like a bell) while on hiking trails or along paths near any creek where fish are spawning.  Full press release.

Four Regional Parks Open Again (September  17 - 12:15 pm)          
The “Closed Due To Extreme Fire Hazard” signs have come down at two more Regional Parks.  After checking trails and public areas for safety hazards, Parks crews have given the green light to re-open Mill Creek Regional Park and the Woodhaven Nature Conservancy.  Yesterday afternoon, Mission Creek and Kalamoir Regional Parks were deemed safe for public access.

More favorable weather conditions have resulted in the opening of four of the Regional Parks that were closed over the summer because of the extreme fire danger.  In all, ten Regional Parks were completely closed and two others were partially closed.

Parks staff hopes to complete their hazard risk inspections of the other six closed parks by late today and expect that the “Closed Due To Extreme Fire Hazard” signs will be taken down.

Once a park is open again, people are asked to use extreme caution and should stay on trails.  Please don’t smoke in natural areas and if you do smoke, please ensure all smoking materials have been completely extinguished and safely discarded. 

Two Regional Parks will remain closed indefinitely because of damage sustained by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.  Both Bertram Creek and Cedar Mountain contain many hazards and are considered unsafe.  Full Press Release.

Forest Fire Review to be Conducted (September  17 - 9:00 am)
An examination of all fire fighting efforts is performed every year by the B.C. Ministry of Forests.  They review decisions and observations related to each fire and try to assess what worked, didn't work, and could be done better.    Local Emergency Operations staff will also go through a similar debrief.    

Two Regional Parks Re-opened  (September  16 - 5:51 pm)          
CORD PRESS RELEASE - More favorable weather conditions have resulted in the opening of two Regional Parks that were closed over the summer because of the threat of fire.  The extreme fire hazard forced the complete closure of ten Regional Parks, and the partial closure of two others.

As of this afternoon, Mission Creek Regional Park is completely open as is Kalamoir Park on the Westside.

This morning, Parks staff started the task of going through each park, conducting a risk inspection.  As some of the parks have been closed for almost two months, staff are checking trails and removing any safety hazards like fallen branches and trees, hanging branches and pruning any overgrowth.  Once the area surrounding the trails is considered safe, the park will be open again for public use.   Information on the status of each park will be relayed via the local media and the Regional District website, www.regionaldistrict.com

The Regional Parks Department thanks residents of the Central Okanagan for their cooperation, patience and understanding over the past two months, while parks were closed.  When a park is open again, people are asked to use extreme caution and should stay on trails.  Please don’t smoke in natural areas and if you do smoke, please ensure all smoking materials have been completely extinguished and safely discarded. 

Two of the parks will remain closed indefinitely because of damage sustained by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.  Both Bertram Creek and Cedar Mountain contain many hazards and are considered unsafe.  Full Press Release.

Fire Now 95% Contained (September  16 - 5:25 pm)

Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size, and is now 95% contained. Resources include 400 fire fighters, 7 helicopters and 91 pieces of heavy equipment. The portion of the fire that is not contained is in steep rocky terrain and is difficult to access for ground resources.

Fire fighters are taking advantage of the cool, wet conditions to secure containment lines and mop up hot spots.  Considerable progress has been made over the past few days.  Resource requirements are being evaluated daily and downsizing will continue as the fire threat decreases.

Smoke may be visible deep within the fire perimeter over the coming weeks.  The public must remain assured that the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire will continue to be patrolled and monitored daily and fire fighters will aggressively mop up hot spots as they are detected.

 The Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park and the Myra-Bellevue Protected Area remain closed to the public until further notice.  The public is also reminded to stay clear of active fire fighting operations and avoid travelling any of the fire access roads being used by emergency personnel.  Full Press Release.

Fire News Highlights (September  16 - 8:13 am)

  • It was one month ago today that lightning started the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.

  • The armed Forces are going home today as cooler temperatures and rain have the fire now 90% contained.

  • Local loggers are now permitted to go back into the forests to resume their operations.

  • 11 senior Forestry personnel  left Kelowna yesterday.

  • The City's fire relief fund has raised $100,000.  $150,00 has been raised by t-shirt sales. The $225,000 Yellow Ribbon Campaign by local media will donate its money to the Central Okanagan Foundation.

  • The insurance industry says it has paid out $200 million so far to BC forest fire victims. 

  • Four City Parks now reopen to the public: Knox Mountain, Dilworth Mountain, Mission Ridge Park and Quail Ridge Park.  Public are asked to stay on the trails and not smoke.  Bertram Creek park will not likely open till spring to to fire damage to structures and trees.

From The Ministry of Forests Incident Commander (September  15 - 8:34 am)

September 14, 2003

An open letter to the people of Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley:

On behalf of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and all who have worked on the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the people of Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley for your outstanding cooperation and generous support during the recent forest fire situation.

The overwhelming support during this time is not only very much appreciated, but has been tremendously uplifting during a very stressful and difficult time.  The endless donations, extreme patience, kind words of encouragement and all of the personal message signs posted throughout the area are truly motivating.  For this we are extremely grateful.

The resiliency of the Okanagan communities is reflected by all of the people that have gone out of their way to ensure that everyone remains safe, the needs of the community are met and the day to day fire operations continued uninterrupted.  You should be proud of your accomplishments, particularly your strong commitment to the community at large.

Again, a sincere heartfelt thank you from all of us that have worked on the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.

Yours truly,


Brian Kempf
Incident Commander
Okanagan Mountain Park Fire

Click here for the full letter in its original form.

Provincewide State of Emergency Lifted (September  15 - 8:10 am)
Premier Gordon Campbell lifted a province wide state of emergency on Sunday due to  rain The state of emergency had been in place since Aug. 2. The province will now complete a damage assessment.

A millimetre of rain fell on Sunday helping fire crews in the Myra and Bellevue canyons. The rainfall makes flare-ups unlikely, soaking down the forest fuels.

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Sept 15 - 30 Continuous Coverage


Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival October 3, 7:00 pm at the Kelowna Community Theater. The Best Films from the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will be appearing. Come experience the thrill of the outdoors and experience some of the world's best films documenting outdoor adventure, landscape and mountain culture. Don't Miss It!  Location: Kelowna Cost: $12 adv $14 door  (September  29 - 4:30 pm)

Terasen Gas
will waive the $300 reconnection fee for homes destroyed in the fire.  They will also refund charges for gas not used when gas was shut off in evacuated areas.  See www.terasen.com for more info. (September  29 - 12:05 pm)

The Grapes at St. Hubertus can't be used for wine this year after all.  The crop is a total loss - although they are insured.  St. Hubertus will buy grapes from other growers this year. (September  29 - 12:05 pm)

Two Days For Donations: There are still two days left for anyone who lost their homes during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire to pick up donations. New clothing, children's toys, cosmetics and cookbooks are available at the Recovery Centre office at 520 Bernard Avenue until six o'clock Tuesday. The donations were supplied by Sport Chek, Toys 'R' Us, Avon Canada Inc.and Company's Coming. (September  29 - 8:49 am) 

The KVR Passport Co. of Beaverdell would like to thank all the people who have purchased restoration t-shirts as a way to support the Myra Canyon Trestles Restoration. We have raised over $1300.00 so far, and we have lots more t-shirts for sale. $15.00 plus tax.  Visit http://www.kvrbiketrailpassport.com  You can also donate to the trestle restoration directly at http://kvr.acromedia.com  (September  29 - 8:46 am) 

A small grass fire broke out yesterday afternoon around 2:15 pm between Peachland and Summerland near Greata Ranch.  The three hectare fire was quickly brought under control.  Thanks to Devin Smith submitted these photos to us. (September  26 - 8:55 am) 

Three students at Okanagan Mission Secondary School are putting together a book with pictures of the fire for a class project.  They would like people to submit their pictures along with permission to use them for the project.  The pictures can  be sent to [email protected] (September  25 - 10:55 am) 

A meeting has been organized by former members of The South Slopes Residents Association for anyone from The City of Kelowna, all affected areas, who have been "impacted" by the Okanagan Mountain Fire. It will be held on Monday, October 6th. at 7:00 P.M. The location will be The Cedar Creek Community Centre, at the corner of Chute Lake Rd. and Chute Lake Crescent in "The Mission". The meeting will be for residents to openly discuss their emotions, feelings , ideas, etc. and where to go from here. The press is please asked not to attend. (September  25 - 10:47 am) 

David Nesbitt has created some Windows desktop wallpaper (1024 X 768) to commemorate the fire.  (215K JPG) (September  25 - 10:47 am)   

Paul Martin will be touring the Kamloops and Kelowna fire affected areas today with Premier Campbell.  There will be a a press conference at the enterprise way fire station at 12:30 today. (September  24 - 9:47 am)  

DT (a.k.a. Darryl Taylor) will be at the Kelowna Wal-Mart Saturday, Sept. 20 to sign copies of his CD, ‘It’s Time to Believe,’ a fundraising project for those affected by the Okanagan Mountain Park
fire. DT will be at the Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Proceeds from the sale of the CD are going to the Red Cross Fire Relief Fund, the Yellow Ribbon Campaign and a portion will also go toward the restoration of the Kettle Valley trestles. See press release for more details.  (September  19 - 8:35 am)  

The footings of the first Crawford home to rebuilt after the firestorm August 22nd have now been poured.  (September  18 - 12:10 pm)  

Purina pet foods has donated a skid of pet food for evacuated and/or displaced pets. The food has been sent to the SPCA and those in need can pick up a bag there. (September  17 - 9:25 am)  

Fire Storm Ball Caps can be picked up Wednesday for those who have prepaid or pre-ordered the hats.  They can be picked up at Kelowna Memorial Arena in the public skating room from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They'll be available there until Friday. Anyone who wants to order a hat for future delivery can prepay at the RCMP detachment on Doyle Avenue, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m.-l p.m. The hats will only be available until the end of September. (September  17 - 9:00 am)  

The volunteer fire fighter t-shirts, in addition to being available at Costco on weekends, are also available Tuesdays at London Drugs and Wednesdays at Wal-Mart. (September  15 - 12:57 pm)  

Limited quantities and sizes of Firestorm shirts are available at RCMP offices in Lake Country, Rutland, Mission and Westbank.  They are also available at all Little Caesars Pizza locations, Art Knapps in Penticton, Canadian Tire in Kelowna, The Jammery, A View to Remember B&B in Lakeview Heights and Perks coffee shop. Proceeds are split by the Kelowna SPCA, the Kelowna Food Bank, the Salvation Army and uninsured homeowners whose houses were destroyed in the fire. Pre-paid and pre-ordered T-shirts are available for pickup in the Kelowna Memorial Arena's skating room (Ellis Street entrance) today, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (September  15 - 8:20 am)

The Armed Forces have now been released from fire duty and will be going home tomorrow.  At the peak there were 2,000 soldiers here helping fight the blaze. (September  15 - 3:02 pm)  

There are now 8 helicopters, 100 pieces of heavy equipment and 400 firefighters working the fire.  The number of fire fighters is expected to drop to 200 on Wednesday.  There are now fire fighters in all areas fighting the fire including Myra and Bellevue canyons.  (September  15 - 12:55 pm)  

The Premier  entered into three agreements with the US to strengthening cross-border wild fire management and co-operation on environmental issues.  Press Release. (September  15 - 8:20 am)

Fire crews are doing mop up runs around the perimeter of the fire.  Fire officials feel that the back of the fire has now been broken with the cooler temperatures  the rain.  The 10% of the fire not contained is in the Myra and Bellevue canyons.  The fire may not be out there until winter.  (September  15 - 8:18 am)

Lake Country still maintains a back country travel ban.  It is expected to be lifted at the Tuesday evening Council meeting. (September  15 - 8:10 am)

About 535 firefighters (280 soldiers) are on the fire lines. Eight helicopters and 106 pieces of heavy equipment are being used. (September  15 - 8:10 am)

 

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Sat & Sun September 13 - 14

Weekend Fire Update (September  14 - 9:40 am)
As of Saturday, the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is considered to be 90% contained. The fire is described as smoldering and not very active.  The rain overnight and today should continue to help. 575 forest fighters and 10 Helicopters remain fighting the blaze.  The only major Evacuation Alert left in the province is near the Sun Peaks resort near Kamloops.

The Okanagan Fire Recovery Center (520 Bernard Avenue  (next to the old Royal Bank building) has new hours effective Monday:
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday

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Sept. 13-14 Continuous Coverage


McClure fire fully contained. September  14 - 3:00 pm

There are two more contributions in our fire reflections area. September  14 - 11:27 am

DT wants to recognize the communities rebuilding spirit and is donating the sales of 1000 "Time to Believe" CD's to the to re-build the twelve historic trestles of the Kettle Valley Railway. He says donors may now specify that their contributions to the Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Trust Fund should be directed toward trestle redevelopment. The CD's are available now at the Kelowna Wal-Mart and the Kelowna Canadian Tire.  September  13 - 8:41 am

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Friday September 12

Evacuation Alerts Lifted (September  12 - 3:23 pm)
All Evacuation Alerts in place due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire were rescinded this afternoon, Friday September 12th, by the Office of the B.C. Fire Commissioner.

The fire poses no imminent danger to residential neighbourhoods.

All areas within the City of Kelowna and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, including the Idabel Lake area in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, have been declared “all clear”.


Approximately 18,000 people had been on Evacuation Alert.

Plans are underway to de-activate the Emergency Operations Centre on Monday September 15th. 
EOC Press Release.

 

Backcountry Travel Ban Lifted (September  12 - 3:23 pm)
Ministry of Forests - Cooling temperatures and rain have allowed ministry officials to re-open the province to backcountry travel, effective midnight tonight.

However, the province-wide state of emergency remains in effect and wild fires continue to be an ongoing threat in many parts of province. There are still 700 active fires in the province. British Columbians should exercise extreme caution and only venture into the backcountry if absolutely necessary.

Should conditions change, including significant new human-caused fire starts, the backcountry travel ban can be re-imposed.

Some provincial parks and protected areas, including Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park and Myra-Bellevue Protected Area remain closed until further notice. Specific park and protected area closures, campfire bans and other restriction information can be obtained from park facility operators or the B.C. Parks Web site at www.bcparks.ca.

The public is reminded to report wildfires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. To report any suspicious activity, please call the above number or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

A reward of up to $50,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in deliberately setting wildfires. Arson is a criminal offence and is punishable by significant fines and/or imprisonment.

For more information on the local Forest Service restrictions, closures and campfire bans, see the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch Web site at http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect/ or contact the local forest district office. For tourism information, contact 1-800-hellobc. Full Press Release.

Fire Remains Stable Despite Evening Winds  (September  12 - 6:53 am)
The fire remained stable over night despite wind gusts last night.  At 9 pm gusts up to 50 km/h with scattered rain hit the Kelowna area.  The wind gusts actually allowed fire fighters to see where they should tackle some of the hot spots. Isolated power outages (Rowcliffe Ave and Gastton) and tree damage was reported but no growth to the fire.  Theer was a power outage at Reid's corner intersection and nearby businesses.

Fire crews have made good progress on the fire in recent days - encircling it with containment lines.  The fire has not challenged or breached containment lines.  The fire is still estimated to be 80% contained and 18,360 residents remain on Evacuation Alert.

Weather and Air Quality Forecast (September  12 - 6:39 am)
Today .. A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h this morning. High 20. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight .. A few clouds. Low 4.
Saturday .. Sunny. High 22.

Air Quality .. Today 38 (fair).  Saturday 30 (fair).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

No News Is Good News September  11 - 7:27 pm
We have had a number of emails in the past few days with similar themes.  We thought we would share these answers with everyone.  Here's a quick summary of our most frequently asked questions.

Why aren't you publishing more thermal maps of the fire?
We get the thermal maps directly from AWIS who is a contractor to the Ministry of Forestry. The maps are only produced when Forestry feels that there have been significant changes in the fire to justify their cost.  These maps are done by special plane flights - not by satellite.  The fact there have been no new maps for the last few days is a good sign that fire has not progressed.

How come there aren't as many updates on the fire on Castanet?
There has been very little too report in the past few days because of the cooler temperatures and rain.  The fire has not grown significantly.  Accordingly the Emergency Operations Center and the Ministry of Forests have less information to share than what they had previously.  We here at Castanet are still following the fire closely.  If there are any major developments rest assured - you can count on us to post them here.  But as fire activity trials off - so does our coverage.  This a another good sign!

I'm from out of town, where can I buy a fire t-shirt?
We have set-up a special web page to update you on the availability of t-shirts, hats, posters, CD's and other fundraising efforts associated with the fire.  Link.  There will be some t-shirts available at the Burnaby Costco this weekend (see t-shirt page for details).  And the
KVR Passport Company will be offering Myra Canyon Trestle t-shirts for sale online.  Be aware that the volunteer fire fighters and RCMP are behind the selling of the most popular shirts.  They are understandably still focused on the task at hand with the fire.  If we become aware of shirt sells outside Kelowna, you can count on us posting them here!

Boil Water Advisories Lifted September 11 - 2:40 pm
As of September 11, 2003 the Water Boil Advisories for the Black Mountain Irrigation and South East Kelowna Irrigation Districts has been lifted.

Test results done by the water utilities and the Interior Health Authorities show the water meets public health requirements and is safe to drink.

BMID and SEKID regret any inconvenience to our customers and thank you for your patience during this water boil advisory.

Fire Clears Myra Canyon - Remaining Trestles Safe September 11 - 7:05 am
Mayor Gray - The fire has now cleared Myra Canyon - so it is unlikely that other Trestles will be destroyed.  The original plans for trestles still exist to aid in rebuilding.  Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for original trestle pictures and trestles as they stand now.  Click here to donate to the trestle restoration online. 

Recovery Trust Fund Donations Can Specify Trestle Redevelopment (September  10 - 4:48 pm)
The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society has recognized the community's will to re-build the twelve historic trestles of the Kettle Valley Railway, destroyed as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire swept through Myra Canyon. Donors may now specify that their contributions to the Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Trust Fund should be directed toward trestle redevelopment.

Donations may be made online at kvr.acromedia.ca or via www.city.kelowna.bc.ca  Donations may also be sent to the City of Kelowna, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna B.C. V1Y 1J4. Cheques should be made payable to the "City of Kelowna Fire Recovery Fund" and should specify that the donation is for the "Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Fund".

The Federal Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Central Okanagan Regional District, the City of Kelowna and the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, as well as many national and local organizations, have acknowledged the need to rebuild. Once the fire in Myra Canyon is extinguished a site assessment will be conducted to determine the steps involved in reconstruction. The reconstruction effort will be a large one involving many levels of government, the private sector and the community. To kick start the project initial funding for the site assessment will be provided by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The Kettle Valley Railway is one of the most important heritage and recreational assets in the Central Okanagan. The pioneering spirit that built the world famous Myra Canyon trestles will once again be demonstrated through community goodwill and leadership.

General donations toward the Recovery Trust Fund are also gratefully accepted. The monies will be used to assist in rebuilding lives and the community. The Recovery Society is in the process of identifying needs and projects that may be eligible to receive funds. Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19, or through the internet or by mail, as above.  Press release.

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September 12 Continuous Coverage


House inspectors are urging people in fire affected areas not to return home too soon due to hazardous residual smoke inside their homes. They suggest that the outdoors clear of smoke firs before you consider having the inside cleaned of smoke. September  12 - 12:04 pm

100 more troops are joining the mop up efforts of the fire today.  September  12 - 12:00 pm

Fire fighters are finally beginning to wind down from adrenaline high from the past 4 weeks.  Sun Peaks Residents were able to return home yesterday.  September  12 - 9:31 pm

It snowed at Big White briefly last night around  9:45 pm. Snow fell on the fires eastern flank.  September  12 - 7:52 pm

600 fire fighters and 12 helicopters are still working the fire. September  11 - 5:16 pm

Castanet's Kelly Hayes took pictures of fire fighters today up at KVR Trestle #1.  Trestle #1 has a sprinkler system on it and a fire retardant line around it. Link September  11 - 3:26 pm

Hector Turner has produced these interested animated thermal maps showing the growth and progress of the fire.  Small (GIF 388K) Large (GIF 1MB).  September  11 - 3:14 pm

The Thermoguys have release some interesting thermal pictures of the water bombers in action(PDF 632K) or their web site. September  11 - 1:02 pm

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Society has donated one million dollars to fire relief efforts.  September  11 - 8:30 am

The KVR Passport Company from Beaverdell are now offering Myra Canyon Trestles t-shirts depicting the water bombing by the Martin Mars Bomber, with the net proceeds going to the Myra Canyon Trestle restoration project.  They will be sold this weekend - Sept 13 & 14, at the Rock Creek fall fair.  They can also be ordered on- line at their web site http://www.kvrbiketrailpassport.com after Sept.11.03. The price is $ 15.00 plus taxes.  September  11 - 7:26 am

BC Government - Rich Coleman - Forest fires total bill could be $500 million. September  10 - 4:21 pm

We now have pictures available from a media tour today inside an air tanker. September  10 - 4:21 pm

With the rebuilding activity, the fire could bring $200 million to the interior economy.  The BC fires this year could rank #2 in all time costly Canadian crisis with the Quebec Ice Storm being #1. September  10 - 8:21 am

 

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Thursday  September 11

No News Is Good News September  11 - 7:27 pm
We have had a number of emails in the past few days with similar themes.  We thought we would share these answers with everyone.  Here's a quick summary of our most frequently asked questions.

Why aren't you publishing more thermal maps of the fire?
We get the thermal maps directly from AWIS who is a contractor to the Ministry of Forestry. The maps are only produced when Forestry feels that there have been significant changes in the fire to justify their cost.  These maps are done by special plane flights - not by satellite.  The fact there have been no new maps for the last few days is a good sign that fire has not progressed.

How come there aren't as many updates on the fire on Castanet?
There has been very little too report in the past few days because of the cooler temperatures and rain.  The fire has not grown significantly.  Accordingly the Emergency Operations Center and the Ministry of Forests have less information to share than what they had previously.  We here at Castanet are still following the fire closely.  If there are any major developments rest assured - you can count on us to post them here.  But as fire activity trials off - so does our coverage.  This a another good sign!

I'm from out of town, where can I buy a fire t-shirt?
We have set-up a special web page to update you on the availability of t-shirts, hats, posters, CD's and other fundraising efforts associated with the fire.  Link.  There will be some t-shirts available at the Burnaby Costco this weekend (see t-shirt page for details).  And the
KVR Passport Company will be offering Myra Canyon Trestle t-shirts for sale online.  Be aware that the volunteer fire fighters and RCMP are behind the selling of the most popular shirts.  They are understandably still focused on the task at hand with the fire.  If we become aware of shirt sells outside Kelowna, you can count on us posting them here!
 

Boil Water Advisories Lifted September 11 - 2:40 pm
As of September 11, 2003 the Water Boil Advisories for the Black Mountain Irrigation and South East Kelowna Irrigation Districts has been lifted.

Test results done by the water utilities and the Interior Health Authorities show the water meets public health requirements and is safe to drink.

BMID and SEKID regret any inconvenience to our customers and thank you for your patience during this water boil advisory.

Fire Clears Myra Canyon - Remaining Trestles Safe September 11 - 7:05 am
Mayor Gray - The fire has now cleared Myra Canyon - so it is unlikely that other Trestles will be destroyed.  The original plans for trestles still exist to aid in rebuilding.  Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for original trestle pictures and trestles as they stand now.  Click here to donate to the trestle restoration online. 

Weather and Air Quality Forecast (September  11 - 6:39 am)
Today .. Cloudy with sunny periods. 40 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this morning. High 20. UV index 3 or low.
Tonight .. Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Low 7.
Friday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. High 21.
Air Quality .. Today 56 (poor).  Friday 36 (fair).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

Recovery Trust Fund Donations Can Specify Trestle Redevelopment (September  10 - 4:48 pm)
The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society has recognized the community's will to re-build the twelve historic trestles of the Kettle Valley Railway, destroyed as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire swept through Myra Canyon. Donors may now specify that their contributions to the Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Trust Fund should be directed toward trestle redevelopment.

Donations may be made online at kvr.acromedia.ca or via www.city.kelowna.bc.ca  Donations may also be sent to the City of Kelowna, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna B.C. V1Y 1J4. Cheques should be made payable to the "City of Kelowna Fire Recovery Fund" and should specify that the donation is for the "Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Fund".

The Federal Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Central Okanagan Regional District, the City of Kelowna and the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, as well as many national and local organizations, have acknowledged the need to rebuild. Once the fire in Myra Canyon is extinguished a site assessment will be conducted to determine the steps involved in reconstruction. The reconstruction effort will be a large one involving many levels of government, the private sector and the community. To kick start the project initial funding for the site assessment will be provided by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The Kettle Valley Railway is one of the most important heritage and recreational assets in the Central Okanagan. The pioneering spirit that built the world famous Myra Canyon trestles will once again be demonstrated through community goodwill and leadership.

General donations toward the Recovery Trust Fund are also gratefully accepted. The monies will be used to assist in rebuilding lives and the community. The Recovery Society is in the process of identifying needs and projects that may be eligible to receive funds. Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19, or through the internet or by mail, as above.  Press release.

Wildland Fire Fighters Gain Ground on Okanagan Fire (September  10 - 1:51 pm)
Ministry of Forests - Favourable weather conditions have assisted fire fighting efforts on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire; containment on the fire is now estimated to be 80%.

As weather conditions change over the next twelve hours, winds are expected to increase and challenge containment lines that have been established. Winds this evening are forecasted to be from the west and northwest gusting as high as 40 km/hr. The winds forecasted should not have a significant impact on fire behaviour due to the cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity.

Fire crews continue to re-enforce established control lines and protection of the remaining trestles remains a priority.

People are asked to avoid traveling in or near the affected areas for a look at the fire. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.  Press release.

Parkinson Recreation Center Now Open Again (September  9 - 11:11 am)
The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now back in business! The weight room, gymnasium and fitness programs were up and running as of 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, and all regularly scheduled programs have resumed.

New fall programs including swimming lessons are set to begin and registration is available now. Many programs begin next week. Register by phone, in person or via the internet at www.recreationkelowna.com

The Fall Program Guide is available on the City's website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca , or drop by the PRC at 1800 Parkinson Way to pick up a copy.

The Parkinson pool will resume operation on September 22nd. A mechanical problem has necessitated closure of the pool until repairs can be made.


The Parkinson Reception Center for evacuees is now closed. 

Rain Helps Fire Fighting Effort  (September  9 - 11:11 am)
Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 150 pieces of heavy equipment.

The cooler and moist weather has enabled fire crews to make good progress establishing and securing control lines. The fire remained stable overnight with no significant spread and is now estimated to be 65 per cent contained.

With the stable weather conditions crews and equipment have been able to work closer to the fire’s edge. While air tankers and helicopter bucketing help cool and slow the fire spread, it is the on-the-ground crews that will actually contain and put the fire out.

The weather forecast is for cool unsettled weather to remain through Friday, with no chance of precipitation. The fire will continue to smolder in the organic layers of the forest floor, with open flame where ever there are the fuels on the ground.

B.C. Forest Service would like to remind the public that fire fighting operations are being conducted close to residences and ask that people stay away from these areas for their own safety.  Press Release.

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September 11 Continuous Coverage


Fire crews aren't reporting any fire flare ups due to winds.  Winds have now quieted.  September  11 - 9:47 pm 

A  wind and rain storm has cropped up in the past hour.  Reports of isolated power outages and some trees down. No word on its impact on the fire. September  11 - 9:13 pm 

600 fire fighters and 12 helicopters are still working the fire. September  11 - 5:16 pm

Castanet's Kelly Hayes took pictures of fire fighters today up at KVR Trestle #1.  Trestle #1 has a sprinkler system on it and a fire retardant line around it. Link September  11 - 3:26 pm

Hector Turner has produced these interested animated thermal maps showing the growth and progress of the fire.  Small (GIF 388K) Large (GIF 1MB).  September  11 - 3:14 pm

The Thermoguys have release some interesting thermal pictures of the water bombers in action(PDF 632K) or their web site. September  11 - 1:02 pm

The Parkinson Reception Center Closed Tuesday when the Parkinson Recreation Center reopened for business.  September  11 - 10:25 am

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Society has donated one million dollars to fire relief efforts.  September  11 - 8:30 am

The KVR Passport Company from Beaverdell are now offering Myra Canyon Trestles t-shirts depicting the water bombing by the Martin Mars Bomber, with the net proceeds going to the Myra Canyon Trestle restoration project.  They will be sold this weekend - Sept 13 & 14, at the Rock Creek fall fair.  They can also be ordered on- line at their web site http://www.kvrbiketrailpassport.com after Sept.11.03. The price is $ 15.00 plus taxes.  September  11 - 7:26 am

Fire fighters at the Kelowna fire hall will pause today at 8:46 am to recognize those lost in the 911 terrorist attacks.  September  11 - 7:01 am

It rained again Wednesday at 6 pm for about an hour.  Use Web Cam 1   Web Cam 2  to look at local conditions and where the fire was last visible form the city.   September  11 - 7:00 am

BC Government - Rich Coleman - Forest fires total bill could be $500 million. September  10 - 4:21 pm

We now have pictures available from a media tour today inside an air tanker. September  10 - 4:21 pm

Cher donated $106,500 to the North Thompson fire relief fund today.  September  10 - 4:00 pm

It's raining in downtown Kelowna. (It only lasted half an hour.  Probably only another 4 millimeters of rain.)  September  10 - 11:17 am

NASA has release an interesting satellite photo of the fire from September 2nd.  Link September  10 - 8:47 am

With the rebuilding activity, the fire could bring $200 million to the interior economy.  The BC fires this year could rank #2 in all time costly Canadian crisis with the Quebec Ice Storm being #1. September  10 - 8:21 am

DT's "Time to Believe" CD's for the Fire Relief Fund will be for sale this weekend in the Kelowna Canadian Tire Store and the Kelowna Wal-mart this weekend. You can also purchase online.  Hear a special message from DT.  (MP3 705K) September  10 - 7:05 am

Navigator Multimedia had put together a virtual tour of the fire affected tours.  It features 360 degree pans of the fire affected areas plus video.  Now no one has an excuse to be a "looky loo" with this valuable online resource. Link. September  9 - 1:01 pm

The Sikh Community has donated $100,000 to the restoration of the  Myra Canton Trestles. September  9 - 12:53 pm

Tourism Kelowna is assuring tourists and travel industry representatives that there have been very few cancellations or alterations to fall tour packages, special events or festival schedules as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.  Click here for more details.  (September  8 - 7:39 pm)

The Vaseux Lake fire is now 100% contained.  All Evacuation Alerts and Orders have been lifted.  It has consumed 3,300 Hectares.  (September  8 - 12:08 pm)

 

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Wednesday September 10

Weather and Air Quality Forecast (September  11 - 6:39 am)
Today .. Cloudy with sunny periods. 40 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this morning. High 20. UV index 3 or low.
Tonight .. Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Low 7.
Friday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. High 21.
Air Quality .. Today 56 (poor).  Friday 36 (fair).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

Recovery Trust Fund Donations Can Specify Trestle Redevelopment (September  10 - 4:48 pm)
The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society has recognized the community's will to re-build the twelve historic trestles of the Kettle Valley Railway, destroyed as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire swept through Myra Canyon. Donors may now specify that their contributions to the Kelowna and Area Fire Recovery Trust Fund should be directed toward trestle redevelopment.

Donations may be made online at kvr.acromedia.ca or via www.city.kelowna.bc.ca  Donations may also be sent to the City of Kelowna, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna B.C. V1Y 1J4. Cheques should be made payable to the "City of Kelowna Fire Recovery Fund" and should specify that the donation is for the "Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Fund".

The Federal Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Central Okanagan Regional District, the City of Kelowna and the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, as well as many national and local organizations, have acknowledged the need to rebuild. Once the fire in Myra Canyon is extinguished a site assessment will be conducted to determine the steps involved in reconstruction. The reconstruction effort will be a large one involving many levels of government, the private sector and the community. To kick start the project initial funding for the site assessment will be provided by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The Kettle Valley Railway is one of the most important heritage and recreational assets in the Central Okanagan. The pioneering spirit that built the world famous Myra Canyon trestles will once again be demonstrated through community goodwill and leadership.

General donations toward the Recovery Trust Fund are also gratefully accepted. The monies will be used to assist in rebuilding lives and the community. The Recovery Society is in the process of identifying needs and projects that may be eligible to receive funds. Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19, or through the internet or by mail, as above.  Press release.

Wildland Fire Fighters Gain Ground on Okanagan Fire (September  10 - 1:51 pm)
Ministry of Forests - Favourable weather conditions have assisted fire fighting efforts on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire; containment on the fire is now estimated to be 80%.

As weather conditions change over the next twelve hours, winds are expected to increase and challenge containment lines that have been established. Winds this evening are forecasted to be from the west and northwest gusting as high as 40 km/hr. The winds forecasted should not have a significant impact on fire behaviour due to the cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity.

Fire crews continue to re-enforce established control lines and protection of the remaining trestles remains a priority.

People are asked to avoid traveling in or near the affected areas for a look at the fire. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.  Press release.

Today's Weather (September  10 - 6:00 am)
Today .. Sunny. Becoming cloudy near midday with 60 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. High 21. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Low 10.
Thursday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind west 30 km/h. High 20
Air quality .. Today 50 (fair).  Thursday 35 (fair).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

Parkinson Recreation Center Now Open Again (September  9 - 11:11 am)
The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now back in business! The weight room, gymnasium and fitness programs were up and running as of 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, and all regularly scheduled programs have resumed.

New fall programs including swimming lessons are set to begin and registration is available now. Many programs begin next week. Register by phone, in person or via the internet at www.recreationkelowna.com

The Fall Program Guide is available on the City's website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca , or drop by the PRC at 1800 Parkinson Way to pick up a copy.

The Parkinson pool will resume operation on September 22nd. A mechanical problem has necessitated closure of the pool until repairs can be made.

 

Rain Helps Fire Fighting Effort  (September  9 - 11:11 am)
Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 150 pieces of heavy equipment.

The cooler and moist weather has enabled fire crews to make good progress establishing and securing control lines. The fire remained stable overnight with no significant spread and is now estimated to be 65 per cent contained.

With the stable weather conditions crews and equipment have been able to work closer to the fire’s edge. While air tankers and helicopter bucketing help cool and slow the fire spread, it is the on-the-ground crews that will actually contain and put the fire out.

The weather forecast is for cool unsettled weather to remain through Friday, with no chance of precipitation. The fire will continue to smolder in the organic layers of the forest floor, with open flame where ever there are the fuels on the ground.

B.C. Forest Service would like to remind the public that fire fighting operations are being conducted close to residences and ask that people stay away from these areas for their own safety.  Press Release.

Fire Retardant Gel Slippery - Should be Left On  (September  8 - 7:55 pm)
Approximately 40 families returning to their homes today found their houses coated with a protective barricade gel, applied as a fire retardant during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. These homes are primarily in the June Springs and McCulloch Roads areas. The white substance appears as a gel or dry residue.

The Office of the BC Fire Commissioner and the Emergency Operations Centre advise residents that this product is slippery and caution should be used on all walking surfaces in the areas where the gel has been applied, such as decks, sidewalks, driveways, porches and steps. Rain and the addition of any moisture will increase the slipperiness of this gel, even if the product has dried. Homeowners are advised to remain off roofs.

While homeowners may wish to remove the product from walking surfaces, they are advised to be careful when doing so. They should wear footwear with proper gripping soles and exercise extreme caution.

The gel can be removed by spraying it off with a normal garden hose and nozzle, and thoroughly rinsing the area. Alternatively, once the gel is dry it can be swept or brushed off and disposed of along with regular garbage. IF YOU CLEAN YOUR PROPERTY BE SURE THE GEL DOES NOT GO ONTO ANY WALKING SURFACE, SUCH AS THE SIDEWALK.

It is recommended that homeowners leave the product in place on house walls and roofs, until all danger from this fire has passed and the Fire Commissioner's Office has advised that the gel may be removed. At that time instructions for removing the gel will be available at the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre, 520 Bernard Avenue.
  Press Release.

Natural Hazards and Recovery Assessment  (September  8 - 3:17 pm)
As residents begin the process of rebuilding homes destroyed by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, a number of environmental issues must be addressed.

Significant changes occur to the natural environment with a fire of this magnitude and slope stability is one area of concern that must be examined. This will include:

  • the potential of rock fall

  • terrain instability resulting from vegetation loss

  • hydrologic changes leading to increased peak flows that could result in ash and mud slides, torrents of debris and re-emergence of ephemeral streams.

The City of Kelowna has retained Dobson Engineering to assess the risks and recommend remediation strategies. Initial assessment work will focus on identifying risks to existing structures and the risks associated with rebuilding fire-damaged homes.

The City intends to work closely and cooperatively with the Ministry of Forests and other external agencies to formulate a joint recovery plan for the entire fire damaged area. It may take five years before the environment has stabilized.  Press Release.

Evacuation Orders Lifted (September  8 - 12:53 pm)
The B.C. Fire Commissioner has rescinded the Evacuation Orders in place due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. All 4,250 residents affected by the Evacuation Orders are now able to return to their homes.

Residents are reminded that they remain on Evacuation Alert. Should weather conditions change and the fire flare, it may be necessary to issue new Evacuation Orders. Residents should keep valuable possessions ready, should this occur.  With the rescind of the Evacuation Orders there are now 18,360 people on Evacuation Alert.

The fire grew 300 hectares in the past 24 hours; the fire has now consumed 25,600 hectares (256 square kilometres). Last night's activity was primarily in an easterly direction and did not threaten any residential areas.

The Kelowna Fire Department is in the process of scaling down the number of out of town trucks and crews on stand by at the Enterprise Way Firehall. Some of these units are being re-deployed today by the Fire Commissioner.  Press Release.

A new Evacuation Area and Alert map is now available.  (PDF 1MB)

Idabel Lake is also included in the Evacuation Order lift.

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September 10 Continuous Coverage


BC Government - Rich Coleman - Forest fires total bill could be $500 million. September  10 - 4:21 pm

We now have pictures available from a media tour today inside an air tanker. September  10 - 4:21 pm

Cher donated $106,500 to the North Thompson fire relief fund today.  September  10 - 4:00 pm

It's raining in downtown Kelowna. (It only lasted half an hour.  Probably only another 4 millimeters of rain.)  September  10 - 11:17 am

NASA has release an interesting satellite photo of the fire from September 2nd.  Link September  10 - 8:47 am

We have a few pictures of two remaining trestles and a destroyed trestle taken during a media air tour yesterday. Link. September  10 - 8:37 am

With the rebuilding activity, the fire could bring $200 million to the interior economy.  The BC fires this year could rank #2 in all time costly Canadian crisis with the Quebec Ice Storm being #1. September  10 - 8:21 am

Apple Blossom, Crosstown, Home Style, Kelly's, Henderson, Busy Bee, Minnella, Kelowna Crossing, Quality, Capri, Mission, and Glenmore dry cleaners are offering free uniform cleaning for fire fighters and RCMP through September 15th. September  10 - 7:08 am

DT's "Time to Believe" CD's for the Fire Relief Fund will be for sale this weekend in the Kelowna Canadian Tire Store and the Kelowna Wal-mart this weekend. You can also purchase online.  Hear a special message from DT.  (MP3 705K) September  10 - 7:05 am

Yup - yet another quiet night... The fire is now fully encircled with a 220 km control line around it now.  The fire is still only considered to be 65% contained.  The fire spread very little yesterday.  Fire officials predict 2 more good days of fire fighting with weather conditions. September  10 - 6:30 am

750 people in the Sun Peaks Ski Resort area near Kamloops are now the only residents under Evacuation Order in the province.  September  10 - 6:30 am

Fire fighters at the Kelowna fire hall will pause tomorrow at 8:46 am to recognize those lost in the 911 terrorist attacks.  September  10 - 6:50 am

With fire news slowing down the past few days and life slowly returning to normal, so must we here at Castanet.  Therefore, this morning will be the last day that Firewatch is the main Castanet page.   Don't worry!  We will still be here - updated as before - whenever there is fire news.  Firewatch will  be at http://castanet.firewatch.net while the new and improved Castanet site will be at http://www.castanet.net   If fire danger increases and more evacuation orders and alerts occur, we'll be back again as the main Castanet page. September  9 - 4:27 pm

The popular fire t-shirts will be available at the Burnaby Costco, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. September  9 - 8:47 pm

Navigator Multimedia had put together a virtual tour of the fire affected tours.  It features 360 degree pans of the fire affected areas plus video.  Now no one has an excuse to be a "looky loo" with this valuable online resource. Link. September  9 - 1:01 pm

The Sikh Community has donated $100,000 to the restoration of the  Myra Canton Trestles. September  9 - 12:53 pm

The process of rebuilding the Kettle Valley Rail Trail through historic Myra Canyon and area has begun and donations are now being accepted to start the process. The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund now has a sub-account specifically for the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration.  Click here to donate to the trestle restoration online. A full press release is expected later today.  September  9 - 11:17 am

Highway 33 is open again however it is also subject to closure at anytime between the City limits and McCullough Road due to the forest fire. Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main fire hall.  September  9 - 6:16 am

Tourism Kelowna is assuring tourists and travel industry representatives that there have been very few cancellations or alterations to fall tour packages, special events or festival schedules as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.  Click here for more details.  (September  8 - 7:39 pm)

The Vaseux Lake fire is now 100% contained.  All Evacuation Alerts and Orders have been lifted.  It has consumed 3,300 Hectares.  (September  8 - 12:08 pm)

A Castanet reader suggested this link on how Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming recovered from fire in 1988.  Link. September 7 - 11:28 pm

Trestle Update - Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for trestle pictures. September 7 - 1:08 pm

 

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Tuesday September 9

Parkinson Recreation Center Now Open Again (September  9 - 11:11 am)
The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now back in business! The weight room, gymnasium and fitness programs were up and running as of 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, and all regularly scheduled programs have resumed.

New fall programs including swimming lessons are set to begin and registration is available now. Many programs begin next week. Register by phone, in person or via the internet at www.recreationkelowna.com

The Fall Program Guide is available on the City's website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca , or drop by the PRC at 1800 Parkinson Way to pick up a copy.

The Parkinson pool will resume operation on September 22nd. A mechanical problem has necessitated closure of the pool until repairs can be made.

 

Rain Helps Fire Fighting Effort  (September  9 - 11:11 am)
Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 150 pieces of heavy equipment.

The cooler and moist weather has enabled fire crews to make good progress establishing and securing control lines. The fire remained stable overnight with no significant spread and is now estimated to be 65 per cent contained.

With the stable weather conditions crews and equipment have been able to work closer to the fire’s edge. While air tankers and helicopter bucketing help cool and slow the fire spread, it is the on-the-ground crews that will actually contain and put the fire out.

The weather forecast is for cool unsettled weather to remain through Friday, with no chance of precipitation. The fire will continue to smolder in the organic layers of the forest floor, with open flame where ever there are the fuels on the ground.

B.C. Forest Service would like to remind the public that fire fighting operations are being conducted close to residences and ask that people stay away from these areas for their own safety.  Press Release.

Kelowna Weather & Air Quality  (September  9 - 6:05 am)
Today .. Sunny with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 21. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Low 8.
Wednesday ..
A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming south 20 km/h near noon. High 21.

Air quality .. Today 35 (fair).  Wednesday 27 (fair)  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

Fire Retardant Gel Slippery - Should be Left On  (September  8 - 7:55 pm)
Approximately 40 families returning to their homes today found their houses coated with a protective barricade gel, applied as a fire retardant during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. These homes are primarily in the June Springs and McCulloch Roads areas. The white substance appears as a gel or dry residue.

The Office of the BC Fire Commissioner and the Emergency Operations Centre advise residents that this product is slippery and caution should be used on all walking surfaces in the areas where the gel has been applied, such as decks, sidewalks, driveways, porches and steps. Rain and the addition of any moisture will increase the slipperiness of this gel, even if the product has dried. Homeowners are advised to remain off roofs.

While homeowners may wish to remove the product from walking surfaces, they are advised to be careful when doing so. They should wear footwear with proper gripping soles and exercise extreme caution.

The gel can be removed by spraying it off with a normal garden hose and nozzle, and thoroughly rinsing the area. Alternatively, once the gel is dry it can be swept or brushed off and disposed of along with regular garbage. IF YOU CLEAN YOUR PROPERTY BE SURE THE GEL DOES NOT GO ONTO ANY WALKING SURFACE, SUCH AS THE SIDEWALK.

It is recommended that homeowners leave the product in place on house walls and roofs, until all danger from this fire has passed and the Fire Commissioner's Office has advised that the gel may be removed. At that time instructions for removing the gel will be available at the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre, 520 Bernard Avenue.
  Press Release.

Province Eases Backcountry Travel Restrictions in Some Areas  (September  8 - 7:05 pm)
VICTORIA - As a result of rainfall that fell in parts of the province during the weekend, government has lifted its backcountry travel restriction in some areas.

Meteorological evaluations and reduced fire danger ratings have allowed ministry officials to re-open backcountry areas on Southern Vancouver Island and the Kootenays.

The following forest districts are again open to backcountry travel: Squamish, South Island (Vancouver Island), Rocky Mountain, Columbia, Arrow Boundary and Kootenay Lake, except where other closures are in effect.

The following forest districts remain closed because of the continuing extreme fire hazard: Chilliwack, Cascades, Kamloops, Okanagan-Shuswap and the Headwaters forest district south of Blue River. 

British Columbians are urged to remain vigilant and to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors. The public is reminded to report wildfires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. To report any suspicious activity, please call the above number (1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks) or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

A reward of up to $50,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in deliberately setting wildfires. Arson is a criminal offence and is punishable by significant fines and/or imprisonment.

For more information on the specific Forest Service restrictions, closures and campfire bans, see the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch Web site at www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect/ or contact the local forest district office. For specific park and protected area closures and restriction information, see the B.C. Parks Web site at http://www.bcparks.ca. For tourism information, contact 1-800-hellobc.  Press Release.

 
Natural Hazards and Recovery Assessment  (September  8 - 3:17 pm)
As residents begin the process of rebuilding homes destroyed by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, a number of environmental issues must be addressed.

Significant changes occur to the natural environment with a fire of this magnitude and slope stability is one area of concern that must be examined. This will include:

  • the potential of rock fall

  • terrain instability resulting from vegetation loss

  • hydrologic changes leading to increased peak flows that could result in ash and mud slides, torrents of debris and re-emergence of ephemeral streams.

The City of Kelowna has retained Dobson Engineering to assess the risks and recommend remediation strategies. Initial assessment work will focus on identifying risks to existing structures and the risks associated with rebuilding fire-damaged homes.

The City intends to work closely and cooperatively with the Ministry of Forests and other external agencies to formulate a joint recovery plan for the entire fire damaged area. It may take five years before the environment has stabilized.  Press Release.

Evacuation Orders Lifted (September  8 - 12:53 pm)
The B.C. Fire Commissioner has rescinded the Evacuation Orders in place due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. All 4,250 residents affected by the Evacuation Orders are now able to return to their homes.

Residents are reminded that they remain on Evacuation Alert. Should weather conditions change and the fire flare, it may be necessary to issue new Evacuation Orders. Residents should keep valuable possessions ready, should this occur.  With the rescind of the Evacuation Orders there are now 18,360 people on Evacuation Alert.

The fire grew 300 hectares in the past 24 hours; the fire has now consumed 25,600 hectares (256 square kilometres). Last night's activity was primarily in an easterly direction and did not threaten any residential areas.

The Kelowna Fire Department is in the process of scaling down the number of out of town trucks and crews on stand by at the Enterprise Way Firehall. Some of these units are being re-deployed today by the Fire Commissioner.  Press Release.

A new Evacuation Area and Alert map is now available.  (PDF 1MB)

Rain Helps Fire Fighting Effort (September  8 -11:12 am)
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire has grown by 300 hectares in the last twenty-four hours, most of that spread occurred before the rains started early this morning.

Rain showers over the fire area have provided much needed relief for the fire fighters. Fire officials are estimating the fire to be 60 per cent contained.

This period of cool, moist weather will allow crews to re establish control lines and reinforce existing ones. While the light rain will wet any open, exposed fine fuels, the deeper organic layers within the forest floor remain critically dry.

The fire remains active in the Myra canyon area; after an aerial overview of the fire this morning fire officials report that the remaining four trestles have not been impacted.

B.C. Forest Service warns that the forest is still extremely dry and much of the fire is in rugged terrain. The weather conditions can change bringing back fire conditions that we had before. Fire officials are using the wet weather as an opportunity to work toward containing the fire. Fire fighters continue to work hard on the front lines.  Press Release.

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September 9 Continuous Coverage


The popular fire t-shirts will be available at the Burnaby Costco, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. September  9 - 8:47 pm

With fire news slowing down the past few days and life slowly returning to normal, so must we here at Castanet.  Therefore, today will be the last full day that Firewatch is the main Castanet page.   Don't worry!  We will still be here - updated as before - whenever there is fire news.  The new and improved Castanet site will have a button to this page (http://castanet.firewatch.net) If fire danger increases and more evacuation orders and alerts occur, we'll be back again as the main page.
September  9 - 4:27 pm

Navigator Multimedia had put together a virtual tour of the fire affected tours.  It features 360 degree pans of the fire affected areas plys video.  Now no one has an excuse to be a "looky loo" with this valuable online resource. Link. September  9 - 1:01 pm

The Sikh Community has donated $100,000 to the restoration of the  Myra Canton Trestles. September  9 - 12:53 pm

The process of rebuilding the Kettle Valley Rail Trail through historic Myra Canyon and area has begun and donations are now being accepted to start the process. The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund now has a sub-account specifically for the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration.  Click here to donate to the trestle restoration online. A full press release is expected later today.  September  9 - 11:17 am

Some maps showing Myra Canyon and Kelowna in comparison to Idabel Lake are now available.  Map 1, Map 2, Map 3  September  9 - 8:25 am

Officials report it was a quiet night overnight.  Air assessments of last night's fire is still being done. The fire probably didn't grow much overnight.  The rain (4 millimeters) we got yesterday helped the canopy of the trees but not the very dry conditions on the forest floor.  We still need a lot more rain to help.   September  9 - 6:22 am

Highway 33 is open again however it is also subject to closure at anytime between the City limits and McCullough Road due to the forest fire. Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main fire hall.  September  9 - 6:16 am

Tourism Kelowna is assuring tourists and travel industry representatives that there have been very few cancellations or alterations to fall tour packages, special events or festival schedules as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.  Click here for more details.  (September  8 - 7:39 pm)

Federal and Provincial politicians were in town today to discuss rebuilding the Kettle Valley Trestles with local government and the volunteer organization that had maintained the trestles.  Federal Heritage Minister Shelia Copps pledged to pay for a rebuild assessment of the Trestles.  No other specific monetary commitments have been made - but at the press conference following there was a broad consensus that the federal and provincial government should make a sizable contribution in addition to local efforts.   One estimate says it could cost $30 million to rebuild the trestles.  (September  8 - 7:00 pm)

A new Evacuation Area and Alert map is now available.  (PDF 1MB) (September  8 - 1:00 pm)

Idabel Lake is also included in the Evacuation Order lift.   (September  8 - 12:53 pm)

The Vaseux Lake fire is now 100% contained.  All Evacuation Alerts and Orders have been lifted.  It has consumed 3,300 Hectares.  (September  8 - 12:08 pm)

A Castanet reader suggested this link on how Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming recovered from fire in 1988.  Link. September 7 - 11:28 pm

Bylands is offering a special variety of rose "My Hero" to raise money for fire relief efforts.  Details  Picture.   September 7 - 11:15 pm

Trestle Update - Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for trestle pictures. September 7 - 1:08 pm

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Monday September 8

Fire Retardant Gel Slippery - Should be Left On  (September  8 - 7:55 pm)
Approximately 40 families returning to their homes today found their houses coated with a protective barricade gel, applied as a fire retardant during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. These homes are primarily in the June Springs and McCulloch Roads areas. The white substance appears as a gel or dry residue.

The Office of the BC Fire Commissioner and the Emergency Operations Centre advise residents that this product is slippery and caution should be used on all walking surfaces in the areas where the gel has been applied, such as decks, sidewalks, driveways, porches and steps. Rain and the addition of any moisture will increase the slipperiness of this gel, even if the product has dried. Homeowners are advised to remain off roofs.

While homeowners may wish to remove the product from walking surfaces, they are advised to be careful when doing so. They should wear footwear with proper gripping soles and exercise extreme caution.

The gel can be removed by spraying it off with a normal garden hose and nozzle, and thoroughly rinsing the area. Alternatively, once the gel is dry it can be swept or brushed off and disposed of along with regular garbage. IF YOU CLEAN YOUR PROPERTY BE SURE THE GEL DOES NOT GO ONTO ANY WALKING SURFACE, SUCH AS THE SIDEWALK.

It is recommended that homeowners leave the product in place on house walls and roofs, until all danger from this fire has passed and the Fire Commissioner's Office has advised that the gel may be removed. At that time instructions for removing the gel will be available at the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre, 520 Bernard Avenue.
  Press Release.

Province Eases Backcountry Travel Restrictions in Some Areas  (September  8 - 7:05 pm)
VICTORIA - As a result of rainfall that fell in parts of the province during the weekend, government has lifted its backcountry travel restriction in some areas.

Meteorological evaluations and reduced fire danger ratings have allowed ministry officials to re-open backcountry areas on Southern Vancouver Island and the Kootenays.

The following forest districts are again open to backcountry travel: Squamish, South Island (Vancouver Island), Rocky Mountain, Columbia, Arrow Boundary and Kootenay Lake, except where other closures are in effect.

The following forest districts remain closed because of the continuing extreme fire hazard: Chilliwack, Cascades, Kamloops, Okanagan-Shuswap and the Headwaters forest district south of Blue River. 

British Columbians are urged to remain vigilant and to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors. The public is reminded to report wildfires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. To report any suspicious activity, please call the above number (1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks) or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

A reward of up to $50,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in deliberately setting wildfires. Arson is a criminal offence and is punishable by significant fines and/or imprisonment.

For more information on the specific Forest Service restrictions, closures and campfire bans, see the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch Web site at www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect/ or contact the local forest district office. For specific park and protected area closures and restriction information, see the B.C. Parks Web site at www.bcparks.ca. For tourism information, contact 1-800-hellobc.  Press Release.

 
Natural Hazards and Recovery Assessment  (September  8 - 3:17 pm)
As residents begin the process of rebuilding homes destroyed by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, a number of environmental issues must be addressed.

Significant changes occur to the natural environment with a fire of this magnitude and slope stability is one area of concern that must be examined. This will include:

  • the potential of rock fall

  • terrain instability resulting from vegetation loss

  • hydrologic changes leading to increased peak flows that could result in ash and mud slides, torrents of debris and re-emergence of ephemeral streams.

The City of Kelowna has retained Dobson Engineering to assess the risks and recommend remediation strategies. Initial assessment work will focus on identifying risks to existing structures and the risks associated with rebuilding fire-damaged homes.

The City intends to work closely and cooperatively with the Ministry of Forests and other external agencies to formulate a joint recovery plan for the entire fire damaged area. It may take five years before the environment has stabilized.  Press Release.

Evacuation Orders Lifted (September  8 - 12:53 pm)
The B.C. Fire Commissioner has rescinded the Evacuation Orders in place due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. All 4,250 residents affected by the Evacuation Orders are now able to return to their homes.

Residents are reminded that they remain on Evacuation Alert. Should weather conditions change and the fire flare, it may be necessary to issue new Evacuation Orders. Residents should keep valuable possessions ready, should this occur.  With the rescind of the Evacuation Orders there are now 18,360 people on Evacuation Alert.

The fire grew 300 hectares in the past 24 hours; the fire has now consumed 25,600 hectares (256 square kilometres). Last night's activity was primarily in an easterly direction and did not threaten any residential areas.

The Kelowna Fire Department is in the process of scaling down the number of out of town trucks and crews on stand by at the Enterprise Way Firehall. Some of these units are being re-deployed today by the Fire Commissioner.  Press Release.

A new Evacuation Area and Alert map is now available.  (PDF 1MB)

Rain Helps Fire Fighting Effort (September  8 -11:12 am)
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire has grown by 300 hectares in the last twenty-four hours, most of that spread occurred before the rains started early this morning.

Rain showers over the fire area have provided much needed relief for the fire fighters. Fire officials are estimating the fire to be 60 per cent contained.

This period of cool, moist weather will allow crews to re establish control lines and reinforce existing ones. While the light rain will wet any open, exposed fine fuels, the deeper organic layers within the forest floor remain critically dry.

The fire remains active in the Myra canyon area; after an aerial overview of the fire this morning fire officials report that the remaining four trestles have not been impacted.

B.C. Forest Service warns that the forest is still extremely dry and much of the fire is in rugged terrain. The weather conditions can change bringing back fire conditions that we had before. Fire officials are using the wet weather as an opportunity to work toward containing the fire. Fire fighters continue to work hard on the front lines.  Press Release.

 

Day Access For All Evacuated Areas September 8 - 7:08 am
With favourable weather conditions, residents who've been forced from their homes by the forest fire will be allowed temporary access today.

Residents in all areas currently under Evacuation Order will be allowed to temporarily return to their homes from 7 am until 6 pm this evening.   It's estimated 4,248 people are affected by the Orders.

Residents must show proof of residency to RCMP members staffing the various road blocks, in order to gain access and return to their homes for the day.

This access also applies for farmers and their workers in evacuated areas of the City and Regional District of Central Okanagan. EOC Press Release.

Finally…Some Rain!!!  September 8 - 6:27 am
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE - It’s something almost everyone has been hoping for…periods of rain are forecast for the Central Okanagan today. Combined with cooler temperatures, they’re welcome news for everyone involved with the effort to tame the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire beast.

Winds picked up late last evening, but the Kelowna Fire Department says they didn’t last long. City fire crews supported with those of more than 40 fire departments from throughout BC and Alberta maintained patrol vigils through the June Springs and Mission areas of the City and through Joe Rich in the Regional District. They haven’t encountered any problems. If the weather conditions and fire activity allow, some of the crews from out of the Central Okanagan will likely be leaving the area later today.

Late yesterday afternoon, an Evacuation Order was issued for the Idabel Lake Resort, just south of McCulloch Lake. It’s believed about six families were at the resort at the time the precautionary Order came down. While the resort is in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, these people are asked to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre Evacuee Registration Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Spall and Burtch Roads.

At the present time, all other Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in effect. Emergency Operation Centre officials will review the status of the Orders and Alerts in light of weather conditions, forecasts and fire behaviour. Any change will be relayed via the media. An estimated 4,248 residents are out on Evacuation Order, while approximately 14,092 residents remain on Evacuation Alert.

The subject of temporary access for residents who’ve been forced from their homes will be reviewed this morning. Any decision will be based on the latest information on fire activity and weather forecasts.  Full Press Release. 

Weather Forecast as of 5:44 am September 8 - 6:00 am
Today .. Periods of rain. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h near noon. High 19. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight .. Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 9.
Tuesday .. A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. High 22.

Air Quality .. Today 50 (poor).  Tuesday 27 (fair). Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.
 

Good Day Fighting Fire September 7 - 7:17 pm 
From the Emergency Operations Center - A day of progress has been reported by the Ministry of Forests for those fighting the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.

Winds generally remained light, allowing ground crews to work on solidifying guards, while fixed wing aircraft crews cooled the fronts on steep terrain and chopper crews dumped water and retardant at lower elevations.

Overnight, municipal fire crews will maintain their existing level of fire watch with 15 units patrolling in the June Springs Road area, nine units keeping watch in the Joe Rich area and one on patrol through the Mission.

As a precautionary measure, as of 5:42 pm an Evacuation Order has been issued for the Idabel Lake Resort area. It's believed half a dozen families are affected by the upgrade in status. While the resort is in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, these people are asked to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre Evacuee Registration Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Spall and Burtch Roads. The centre has been busy today as people forced from their homes early this morning from the Kimatouche Road subdivision made their way in to register.

At the present time, all other Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in effect. Emergency Operation Centre officials are constantly reviewing the status of the Orders and Alerts in light of weather conditions, forecasts and fire behaviour. Any change will be relayed via the media. An estimated 4,248 residents are out on Evacuation Order, while approximately 14,110 residents remain on Evacuation Alert.

The subject of temporary access for residents who've been forced from their homes will be reviewed tomorrow (Monday) morning, and will be based on the latest information on fire activity and weather forecasts.

No further releases are planned until 7:00 am Monday morning.  EOC Press Release.

Fire Crews Made Progress Throughout the Day September 7 - 5:30 pm 
Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,300 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. Additional air support is being provided by a Martin Mars and CL-415s.

Today air tankers and helicopters worked to establish a control line of fire retardant from the Myra Forest Service Road to the Kettle Valley Railway right of way. The area between the fire front and the retardant line was burnt off in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading toward eastern side of Kelowna.

Air and ground operations will continue throughout the day and late into the evening. Ground crews will continue to work through the night where safe to do so. Air operations will begin again at first light if conditions are favourable.

The revised weather forecast, which calls for winds from the northwest at seven to fifteen kilometres. per hour, is favourable for the fire fighting efforts.

People are asked to avoid traveling in or near the affected areas for a look at the fire. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.  Press release.

Winds Cause Fire Spread September 7 - 1:23 pm 
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,300 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. Additional air support is being provided by air tankers.

As predicted, winds occurred over the fire area resulting in a size increase of 1,300 hectares. The fire spread was from the upper Myra canyon in a northerly direction toward McCulloch Road. The wind direction was favourable and pushed the fire up on the top of the hills, away from Kelowna residences.

Today’s forecasted winds will continue to push the fire away from residences. Crews are engaged in operations to steer the head of the fire away from town, and keep it up on the hills. Fire fighters continue to work under an extreme fire behaviour warning which is in effect until 8:00 pm tonight. The priority for fire officials is the protection of structures with wildland and structural fire fighters working together.

B.C. Forest Service officials can confirm the loss of three more trestles in Myra canyon. The total for the Kettle Valley Railway is twelve wooden trestles destroyed and 2 metal trestles damaged. The four remaining trestles continue to be at risk. If safe to work around Trestle 1 crews will attempt to set up a sprinkler system to provide additional protection. Press release.

Notes on 12:30 pm press conference September 7 - 12:54 pm 

Ministry of Forestry:  650 fire fighters, 20 helicopters, 200 piece of heavy equipment are working the fire.  There is also air tanker support.  Winds are still tricky.  No residences were lost last night.  Expecting winds today.  So far today the wind is pushing fire away from town back on the hill.  The current spotting distance of the fire is 800 meters to 1.5 km. (This is how far the fire can jump ahead of itself.)   Only four trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17 plus the two steel trestles 6 and 8 (without their wood decks).  They are getting in water support so they can get dozers in to build guards to steer the fire.  The fire is 3 km from McCullough Road, 5 km from Joe Rich, 6 km from Idabel lake, and 25 - 30 km away from Big White.  There are 400 residents or workers at Big White.  Big White residents have been informed of second road out of resort. There is a chance of more evacuations in Kelowna today. 

Assistant Fire Chief: Over 300 fire fighters were involved last night.  There is a contingency plan to evacuate Big White if need be.  The area of most concern is McCullough Road.  There were 6 units protecting the Mission from flare ups last night. 15 units were posted in Joe Rich and 27 units posted to June Springs/McCulloch Road area.

EOC Director:  Thanks to Shaw Cable for manning the phones for the public info line.

RCMP: RCMP helped 990 evacuate last night.  3 homes refused the Evacuation Order.  Residents who refuse to leave are not allowed to wander around in evacuation area order.  They must stay in their homes.  Most residents were prepared to leave when asked to do so by RCMP.  Once you leave an Evacuation Order area you will not be allowed back in.  Evacuees - please register at Parkinson Recreation Center.  Firefighters discovered a marijuana grow operation last night in the Joe Rich area.  800 plants were seized as was air conditioning and generator equipment.  RCMP know who the owner is.

 

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September 8 Continuous Coverage


Tourism Kelowna is assuring tourists and travel industry representatives that there have been very few cancellations or alterations to fall tour packages, special events or festival schedules as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.  Click here for more details.  (September  8 - 7:39 pm)

Federal and Provincial politicians were in town today to discuss rebuilding the Kettle Valley Trestles with local government and the volunteer organization that had maintained the trestles.  Federal Heritage Minister Shelia Copps pledged to pay for a rebuild assessment of the Trestles.  No other specific monetary commitments have been made - but at the press conference following there was a broad consensus that the federal and provincial government should make a sizable contribution in addition to local efforts.   One estimate says it could cost $20 million to rebuild the trestles.  (September  8 - 7:00 pm)

A new Evacuation Area and Alert map is now available.  (PDF 1MB) (September  8 - 1:00 pm)

Idabel Lake is also included in the Evacuation Order lift.   (September  8 - 12:53 pm)

The Vaseux Lake fire is now 100% contained.  All Evacuation Alerts and Orders have been lifted.  It has consumed 3,300 Hectares.  (September  8 - 12:08 pm)

The southwest winds predicted last night did materialize - but not for along as the current weather system pushed it out.  Today's cooler temperatures and moisture will help fire fighting efforts today.  The plan is for fighters to establish control lines and encircle the fire to get containment.  Cloudy/smoky conditions today will make air support difficult. (September  8 - 8:06 am)

The fire grew only slightly from yesterday.  It is now 25,585 hectares up by 385 hectares.  (September  8 - 7:01 am)

New AWIS Thermal Maps are available from 1 am this morning:  (JPG 1.2MB) (PDF 2.0MB AWIS Thermal Maps Archive  (September  8 - 6:57 am)

All School District 23 schools are open this morning.  For other schools, see our events page.  September 8 - 6:33 am

Thank God its raining!!!  The rain started about 2:40 am this morning and is expected to last all day and ease up in the evening. September 8 - 6:00 am

Highway 33 is open with restrictions from Kelowna City limits to McCullough Rd (7 to 31 km east of Hwy 97 Jct)  The RCMP will have check points from km 7 to km 31 and motorists are advised not to stop in this area. The Highway is also subject to closure at anytime due to the forest fire. Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main fire hall.  September  8 - 6:00 am

A Castanet reader suggested this link on how Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming recovered from fire in 1988.  Link. September 7 - 11:28 pm

Bylands is offering a special variety of rose "My Hero" to raise money for fire relief efforts.  Details  Picture.   September 7 - 11:15 pm

Melody Gartner updates us on the Idabel Lake Evacuation Order.  "The order actually affected at least 24 full time families whom live year round at Idabel Lake and another 2 dozen weekend families totalling approximately 90 people.  Most of these families had left the area prior to the actual Evacuation Order as they feared the fire was getting far to close." September 7 - 11:09 pm

Idabel Lake is now on Evacuation Order. It's south of McCulloch Lake and about six families are affected. September 7 - 6:45 pm

Trestle Update - Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for trestle pictures. September 7 - 1:08 pm

The Thermoguy has released sequence thermal pictures before and after the rain Saturday night.  (PDF 537K September  7 - 9:10 am

An estimated 10% of Joe Rich residents are defying the Evacuation Order and staying home.  September 6 - 4:02 pm

There was a house fire on the Westside near Mount Boucherie Saturday.  One house was destroyed and the another damaged.  Vigilant residents helped ensure the fire didn't spread to grassy areas nearby.  It's under control.  Thanks to Jim Baile, Soni Riediger, and  Jo Fritz  for some pictures.  September 6 - 1:39 pm

 

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Sunday September 7

Good Day Fighting Fire September 7 - 7:17 pm 
From the Emergency Operations Center - A day of progress has been reported by the Ministry of Forests for those fighting the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.

Winds generally remained light, allowing ground crews to work on solidifying guards, while fixed wing aircraft crews cooled the fronts on steep terrain and chopper crews dumped water and retardant at lower elevations.

Overnight, municipal fire crews will maintain their existing level of fire watch with 15 units patrolling in the June Springs Road area, nine units keeping watch in the Joe Rich area and one on patrol through the Mission.

As a precautionary measure, as of 5:42 pm an Evacuation Order has been issued for the Idabel Lake Resort area. It's believed half a dozen families are affected by the upgrade in status. While the resort is in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, these people are asked to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre Evacuee Registration Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Spall and Burtch Roads. The centre has been busy today as people forced from their homes early this morning from the Kimatouche Road subdivision made their way in to register.

At the present time, all other Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in effect. Emergency Operation Centre officials are constantly reviewing the status of the Orders and Alerts in light of weather conditions, forecasts and fire behaviour. Any change will be relayed via the media. An estimated 4,248 residents are out on Evacuation Order, while approximately 14,110 residents remain on Evacuation Alert.

The subject of temporary access for residents who've been forced from their homes will be reviewed tomorrow (Monday) morning, and will be based on the latest information on fire activity and weather forecasts.

No further releases are planned until 7:00 am Monday morning.  EOC Press Release.

Fire Crews Made Progress Throughout the Day September 7 - 5:30 pm 
Ministry of Forestry - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,300 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. Additional air support is being provided by a Martin Mars and CL-415s.

Today air tankers and helicopters worked to establish a control line of fire retardant from the Myra Forest Service Road to the Kettle Valley Railway right of way. The area between the fire front and the retardant line was burnt off in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading toward eastern side of Kelowna.

Air and ground operations will continue throughout the day and late into the evening. Ground crews will continue to work through the night where safe to do so. Air operations will begin again at first light if conditions are favourable.

The revised weather forecast, which calls for winds from the northwest at seven to fifteen kilometres. per hour, is favourable for the fire fighting efforts.

People are asked to avoid traveling in or near the affected areas for a look at the fire. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.  Press release.

Winds Cause Fire Spread September 7 - 1:23 pm 
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 25,300 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. Additional air support is being provided by air tankers.

As predicted, winds occurred over the fire area resulting in a size increase of 1,300 hectares. The fire spread was from the upper Myra canyon in a northerly direction toward McCulloch Road. The wind direction was favourable and pushed the fire up on the top of the hills, away from Kelowna residences.

Today’s forecasted winds will continue to push the fire away from residences. Crews are engaged in operations to steer the head of the fire away from town, and keep it up on the hills. Fire fighters continue to work under an extreme fire behaviour warning which is in effect until 8:00 pm tonight. The priority for fire officials is the protection of structures with wildland and structural fire fighters working together.

B.C. Forest Service officials can confirm the loss of three more trestles in Myra canyon. The total for the Kettle Valley Railway is twelve wooden trestles destroyed and 2 metal trestles damaged. The four remaining trestles continue to be at risk. If safe to work around Trestle 1 crews will attempt to set up a sprinkler system to provide additional protection. Press release.

Notes on 12:30 pm press conference September 7 - 12:54 pm 

Ministry of Forestry:  650 fire fighters, 20 helicopters, 200 piece of heavy equipment are working the fire.  There is also air tanker support.  Winds are still tricky.  No residences were lost last night.  Expecting winds today.  So far today the wind is pushing fire away from town back on the hill.  The current spotting distance of the fire is 800 meters to 1.5 km. (This is how far the fire can jump ahead of itself.)   Only four trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17 plus the two steel trestles 6 and 8 (without their wood decks).  They are getting in water support so they can get dozers in to build guards to steer the fire.  The fire is 3 km from McCullough Road, 5 km from Joe Rich, 6 km from Idabel lake, and 25 - 30 km away from Big White.  There are 400 residents or workers at Big White.  Big White residents have been informed of second road out of resort. There is a chance of more evacuations in Kelowna today. 

Assistant Fire Chief: Over 300 fire fighters were involved last night.  There is a contingency plan to evacuate Big White if need be.  The area of most concern is McCullough Road.  There were 6 units protecting the Mission from flare ups last night. 15 units were posted in Joe Rich and 27 units posted to June Springs/McCulloch Road area.

EOC Director:  Thanks to Shaw Cable for manning the phones for the public info line.

RCMP: RCMP helped 990 evacuate last night.  3 homes refused the Evacuation Order.  Residents who refuse to leave are not allowed to wander around in evacuation area order.  They must stay in their homes.  Most residents were prepared to leave when asked to do so by RCMP.  Once you leave an Evacuation Order area you will not be allowed back in.  Evacuees - please register at Parkinson Recreation Center.  Firefighters discovered a marijuana grow operation last night in the Joe Rich area.  800 plants were seized as was air conditioning and generator equipment.  RCMP know who the owner is.

No Day Re-entry Today for Residents on Evacuation Order September 7 - 9:41 am 
There will be no temporary re-entry today, Sunday September 7th, for the 4,230 residents under Evacuation Order.  EOC Press Release. 

Morning Recap September 7 - 6:43 am 
Another 990 residents of South East Kelowna were evacuated from their homes early this morning as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire flared up again. The order was issued at two am and affected 329 properties in the Kimatouche Road subdivision. The wind whipped up the flames to within a kilometre of some homes in a few cases. Kelowna Fire department officials say no structures were lost. Police say shortly after the evacuation order was issued the wind died down and there was a sprinkling of rain.

Officials have said we would need five continuous days of rain to make any difference in the fire situation. There is a risk of thundershowers today in the forecast. Emergency Social Services Coordinator Beryl Itani says they were able to accommodate about 130 households of evacuees in local hotels and motels after they made their way to the Parkinson Rec Centre. Itani says because the area was under an evacuation alert other residents made alternate arrangements in case they had to leave quickly.

Weather Forecast As of 5 am September 7 - 6:33 am 
Today.. Cloudy with sunny periods. 60 percent chance of showers this morning. Risk of a thundershower. Local smoke. Wind increasing to southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 by mid morning. High 25. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 7.
Monday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon. High 22. 
Air Quality: today 63 (poor).  Monday 44 (fair). Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

 

New Evacuation Order Issued 2 am September 7
An Evacuation Order has been issued for residents of the Kimatouche Road subdivision directly west of the Gallagher's Canyon area.

Wind activity is pushing the fire directly towards these homes.

The Evacuation Order affects 329 properties and approximately 990 people, bringing the new total of residents on Evacuation Order to 4,230.

The roads and streets affected by the new Evacuation Order are:

Carter Road
Claxton Court
Eastwood Court
Eastwood Drive
Flower Court
Glenfir Court
Greenwood Court
Hyak Road
Kekuli Court
Kimatouche Road
Lakevale Place
Larkspur Court
Lemky Road
Lupin Crescent
McClain Road - West Side
Mowitch Court
Spaarpak Road
Summerside Court
Summerside Drive
Suncrest Court
Sunshine Road
Tatlow Road
Tillicum Court
Water Road - South Side

Evacuated residents should report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre at 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Spall and Burtch Roads.

It is extremely important that all evacuated residents register so that out of town family and friends will be able to contact them. As well, if residents need services such as food, clothing or lodging they must be registered with Emergency Social Services. Evacuated residents should bring sleeping bags and pillows for every member of their family. Full EOC Press Release.

See the new Evacuation Order and Evacuation Alert map as of September 7, 1:20 am.  (PDF 1MB)

Extreme Fire Behavior Expected Tonight -
Another Two Trestles Lost
September 6 - 7:24 pm

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE –  The fire remained active today along the eastern flank in the upper Myra canyon, though no significant spread occurred.

B.C. Forest Service officials confirmed today that two more Myra Canyon trestles were destroyed last night and today bringing the total to nine destroyed and two damaged. The remaining trestles continue to be at risk. Helicopters continue to drop fire retardant and target hot spots as visibility permits. Control operations in the Myra canyon are limited due to the extremely rugged terrain and volatile fire conditions.

Winds are expected to strengthen overnight and tomorrow. An extreme fire behaviour warning has been put into effect from 8:00 pm tonight until 8:00 pm Sunday. While it is too early to tell how large tonight’s excursions will be, tinder dry forests, high temperatures and high winds make the situation extremely serious.If the forecast winds materialize fire activity will increase on the slopes and will be visible from Kelowna. People are asked to avoid traveling to the affected areas. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.
Fire fighters can only conduct limited fire suppression activities during the night and only when it is safe to do so. While a lot may be happening in terms of fire spread and behaviour we will not be able to provide on-going information as it will not be available to us. Generally fire information is made available after we have had the opportunity to have a thorough look at the fire in daylight. Full press release.

Fight to Save Trestles Continues September 6 - 12:03 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 24,000 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

The 400 hectares of fire spread over the last twenty-four hours has been mainly along the eastern perimeter in the upper elevations.

The fire continues to be active in Myra Canyon. The canyon is deep with very steep, rugged sides. This is preventing heavy equipment and ground crews from being used to establish control lines. Bucketing with helicopters was used extensively yesterday to protect the remaining trestles along the Kettle Valley Railway. The same is planned for today if smoke conditions allow.

Crews continue to mop up and patrol along the northern perimeter (section of the fire closest to Kelowna); and the southern perimeter (section of the fire adjacent to Naramata).

Winds are expected to be light for most of the day, cooler temperatures and minor amounts of precipitation are also included in the forecast. There is a risk of late day dry thunderstorms passing through the area. Strong gusty winds are expected to be associated with these storms.

Safety of the crews continues to be the highest priority as ground conditions are extremely dry and volatile. A significant rain or a long period of stable conditions is required to help crews get the upper hand on this fire.

In an attempt to contain the fire and protect the Myra Canyon trestles; from September 1st to September 4th fixed wing aircraft have dropped 284,070 liters of retardant and 959,236 liters of water. Full Press Release.

Water Bomber Links:
Martin Mars Water Bombers
CL 415 Water Bomber Site One  Site Two  Site Three

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September 7 Continuous Coverage


A Castanet reader suggested this link on how Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming recovered from fire in 1988.  Link. September 7 - 11:28 pm

Bylands is offering a special variety of rose "My Hero" to raise money for fire relief efforts.  Details  Picture.   September 7 - 11:15 pm

Melody Gartner updates us on the Idabel Lake Evacuation Order.  "The order actually affected at least 24 full time families whom live year round at Idabel Lake and another 2 dozen weekend families totalling approximately 90 people.  Most of these families had left the area prior to the actual Evacuation Order as they feared the fire was getting far to close." September 7 - 11:09 pm

Idabel Lake is now on Evacuation Order. It's south of McCulloch Lake and about six families are affected. September 7 - 6:45 pm

Mars bombers and CL415 continue to attack fire on eastern most section of fire.  Boaters - make way for planes on the lake.   September 7 - 5:01 pm

Trestle Update - Only four wooden trestles remain 1, 12, 16, 17.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for trestle pictures. September 7 - 1:08 pm

Fire officials are reporting that the fire is moving in a northerly and easterly direction - being driven by the wind.  The fire is still burning as rank 5 or 6.  Helicopters grabbing water from Gallagher's golf course pond.  September  7 - 9:10 am 

The Thermoguy has released sequence thermal pictures before and after the rain last night.  (PDF 537K September  7 - 9:10 am

A new Evacuation Order and Evacuation Alert map has been released.  This is accurate as of September 7 1:20 am.  (PDF 1MB) September  7 - 7:57 am

New Thermal Maps have been posted from 5 am last night.  (JPG 1.3MB)  (PDF 1.9MB)    (PDF 4.4MB)  Thermal Maps Archive   September  7 - 7:51 am

Highway 33 is open with restrictions from Kelowna City limits to McCullough Rd (7 to 31 km east of Hwy 97 Jct)  The RCMP will have check points from km 7 to km 31 and motorists are advised not to stop in this area. The Highway is also subject to closure at anytime due to the forest fire. September  7 - 8:41 am

A bear has been spotted high in a tree near the McClure/Keith Road area again this morning. Authorities have been called.  If you spot a wild life problem call 1-800-663-9453September  7 - 8:26 am

Choppers are again in the air fighting the fire this morning.  September  7 - 8:20 am

The fire has grown over night to 25,300 Hectares - up from 24,000 yesterday. September  7 - 8:07 am

Fire was reported to be 3 km from homes in Gallagher's Canyon. 6 or 7 structures were gelled in this area last night.  September 7 - 7:35 am

At 2 am Chief Zimmerman said that the fire jumped the ridge in one spot at KLO Creek at Hydraulic Creek.  The fire was just half a kilometer up from McCulloch Road.  Homes have been gelled in that area.  On first light this morning the plan is to send fire fighters in there to attempt to knock it down before the fire gets pushed down into Gallagher's Canyon.  In light of this development, Zimmerman says they will re-evaluate the Black Mountain Evacuation Alert today which could be upgraded to an Evacuation Order.  Black Mountain residents should start making preparations should this move be necessary.  September 7 - 7:13 am

Only 130 of 990 residents have registered at the Parkinson Rec. Centre from last night's Evacuation order.  Evacuees are asked to have at least one member of their family go the Parkinson Rec. Centre to register. September 7 - 7:04 am 

The rain we experienced occurred at 4 am last night.  September 7 - 7:04 am 

The Vaseux Lake fire is holding at 3,300 hectares and is 75% contained. September 6 - 11:53 pm 

We now have a photo of the flame action seen from the Black Mountain area tonight.  (JPG 714K September 6 - 8:25 pm 

Reports of some flame action seen from the vantage point of Black Mountain School looking east towards Joe Rich. Flames initially spotted at 8:15 now dissipating to smoke. September 6 - 8:45 pm 

Unconfirmed reports of a bear cub sighted near the Laughing Moon on Lakeshore at 8:15 pm.  If you spot a wild life problem call 1-800-663-9453 September 6 - 8:41 pm

The BC Forest Service has provided two dramatic photographs taken today of trestle #18 of the Kettle Valley Railway. The view is from the trail/railbed looking south at trestle 18. The open fire above and south of the trestle is Rank 5 in forest service terms. There is active rank 4 fire below the trestle but the slope may have guided the fire past the trestle. The pictures were taken at approx. 2:30 pm today. September 6 - 7:07 pm

The Laughing Moon Restaurant ( 4600 Lakeshore Rd, Kelowna) is available to fire fighters to eat for free, or for evacuees with meal vouchers. September 6 - 8:10 pm

An estimated 10% of Joe Rich residents are defying the Evacuation Order and staying home.  September 6 - 4:02 pm

There was a house fire on the Westside near Mount Boucherie.  One house was destroyed and the another damaged.  Vigilant residents helped ensure the fire didn't spread to grassy areas nearby.  It's under control.  Thanks to Jim Baile, Soni Riediger, and  Jo Fritz  for some pictures.  September 6 - 1:39 pm

The Department of National Defense (DND) has a website on Operation Peregrine - the BC fire fighting effort. September 6 - 11:01 am

There was a minor fire started by a construction worker in a debris pile at Big White Thursday.  The fire was quickly brought under control  but the fire re-erupted again Friday in nearby trees.  Again it was brought under control.  All construction work that could make sparks has been banned while the dry conditions persist.  September 5 - 11:00 pm

The lost dog advertised by CORD has been reunited with its owner.  Press release.  Cat lostSeptember 5 - 4:46 pm

BCAA is accepting home insurance on a case by case basis and had a record month in August for writing new policies.  Press Release.  September 5 - 3:25 pm

The Thermoguys have release a sequence of thermo photos of the flare up on the 3rd.  (PDF 272K) September 5 - 2:52 pm

View the revised Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order Map as of 2:10 pm September 4.  (PDF 1MB September 5 - 2:46 pm

View the revised Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order Street List as of 2:10 pm September 4.  (PDF 12K) September 5 - 1:55 pm

NASA has some more satellite photos of the smoke from the fire as of September 2nd 20:55 UTC  Pixel size: 1km | 500m | 250m September 5 - 8:55 am

Highway 33 is open again with restrictions. You must not stop between between the City limits and McCullough Road.  RCMP are set up along the highway to make sure no one stops in this section. September 5 - 6:34 am 

Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main fire hall.  September 4 - 7:32 am

Registration for aquatic programs at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will proceed as scheduled on Saturday September 6thClick for details. September 4 - 6:21 pm 

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now closed for regular programming and is functioning once again as a Reception Centre for evacuees. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible. September 3 - 9:42 pm
 

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Saturday September 6

Extreme Fire Behavior Expected Tonight -
Another Two Trestles Lost
September 6 - 7:24 pm

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE –  The fire remained active today along the eastern flank in the upper Myra canyon, though no significant spread occurred.

B.C. Forest Service officials confirmed today that two more Myra Canyon trestles were destroyed last night and today bringing the total to nine destroyed and two damaged. The remaining trestles continue to be at risk. Helicopters continue to drop fire retardant and target hot spots as visibility permits. Control operations in the Myra canyon are limited due to the extremely rugged terrain and volatile fire conditions.

Winds are expected to strengthen overnight and tomorrow. An extreme fire behaviour warning has been put into effect from 8:00 pm tonight until 8:00 pm Sunday. While it is too early to tell how large tonight’s excursions will be, tinder dry forests, high temperatures and high winds make the situation extremely serious.If the forecast winds materialize fire activity will increase on the slopes and will be visible from Kelowna. People are asked to avoid traveling to the affected areas. Congestion increases the risk of an accident and emergency officials need to be able to deploy equipment in a timely manner.
Fire fighters can only conduct limited fire suppression activities during the night and only when it is safe to do so. While a lot may be happening in terms of fire spread and behaviour we will not be able to provide on-going information as it will not be available to us. Generally fire information is made available after we have had the opportunity to have a thorough look at the fire in daylight. Full press release.

Updated Weather Forecast 4 pm September 6 - 4:06 pm
Tonight .. Smoke. Increasing cloudiness early this evening then 70 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thundershower near midnight. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this evening. Low 15.
Sunday .. Cloudy with sunny periods. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 23. UV index 5 or moderate.

 

Fight to Save Trestles Continues September 6 - 12:03 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 24,000 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

The 400 hectares of fire spread over the last twenty-four hours has been mainly along the eastern perimeter in the upper elevations.

The fire continues to be active in Myra Canyon. The canyon is deep with very steep, rugged sides. This is preventing heavy equipment and ground crews from being used to establish control lines. Bucketing with helicopters was used extensively yesterday to protect the remaining trestles along the Kettle Valley Railway. The same is planned for today if smoke conditions allow.

Crews continue to mop up and patrol along the northern perimeter (section of the fire closest to Kelowna); and the southern perimeter (section of the fire adjacent to Naramata).

Winds are expected to be light for most of the day, cooler temperatures and minor amounts of precipitation are also included in the forecast. There is a risk of late day dry thunderstorms passing through the area. Strong gusty winds are expected to be associated with these storms.

Safety of the crews continues to be the highest priority as ground conditions are extremely dry and volatile. A significant rain or a long period of stable conditions is required to help crews get the upper hand on this fire.

In an attempt to contain the fire and protect the Myra Canyon trestles; from September 1st to September 4th fixed wing aircraft have dropped 284,070 liters of retardant and 959,236 liters of water. Full Press Release.
 

One More Trestle Lost Last Night September 6 - 11:30 am
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire only grew 400 hectares in size overnight Friday but trestle number two has been lost in the Myra Canyon. (See map for trestle placement JPG 42K)  Ministry of Forests official Brian Kempf says it is now 24,000 hectares in size, 650 firefighters are working the fire along with 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. The fire is said to be 60 per cent contained with most of the work taking place along the eastern perimeter in the upper elevations. Kempf says the fire is very active in Myra Canyon and consequently it is very smoky. Helicopter crews have bucketed just over 284,000 litres of long term retardant on the remaining trestles, while air tankers dumped over 959,000 litres of water in Myra Canyon Friday trying to control the flanks. Crews will be watching for late day dry thunderstorms with possible gusty wind.

Other Highlights from the 11 am media conference
Ministry Of Forestry:
  The trestles left are north of the fire line.  RJP Holdings has a structural protection team in Myra Canyon right now trying to protect the remaining trestles.  Joe Rich is now 7 km from the fire. Bombers may be in action again today if the smoke lifts. 

Fire Behavior Specialist: Winds from the south and late day dry thunderstorms are a concern this evening.  Increased winds will cause increased fire behavior. Currently, the winds where the fire fighters are now working are the best that can be hoped for.  However, everything below 1,400 meters in the valley is smoked out.  Smoke affects the ability for bombers and helicopters to work on the fire and affects fire fighters. 

Mayor Gray: Many residents who were evacuated this week didn't unpack when they returned home realizing that they could be asked to leave again.

Temporary Re-entry Passes Available Today September 6 - 8:18 am
Temporary re-entry passes are available for all residents currently on Evacuation Order between now and 2:00 pm.  Proof of residency will be required at RCMP road checks.  Only residents who have valid proof that they live in the area will be allowed re-entry today.  Yesterday, only a portion of Evacuation Order residents were allowed reentry.  Today - all Evacuation Order residents are allowed re-entry with proof of residency.

Overnight Update September 6 - 8:09 am
The predicted winds in the forecast for Friday evening did not materialize and that made for a relatively quiet time overnight. Emergency Operations Centre Information Officer Carol Suhan says the fire department is reporting the usual activity of mopping up hot spots and watching on a 24 hour basis. Over three thousand Kelowna residents in the Gallagher's Canyon and June Springs area remain on evacuation order after a Wednesday evening flare up of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Thousands of other are again on evacuation alert in Kelowna southern suburbs.

A constant stream of five CL 415 water bombers and a Martin Mars bomber battled the stubborn fire all day Friday. Crews are trying to save the remaining 12 trestles in the historic Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway. 

The Martin Mars has a 22,700 liter (6,000 US gallon) water capacity.  The CL 415 water bombers have a 6,140 liter (1,622-gallon US gallon) water capacity.  Helicopters have less capacity per fuel use (about 1,000 US gallon), although a helicopter can get in closer and more precise to the target.

One Castanet reader timed the bomber water pickup times.  He reports that the CL 415 averaged 19-21 seconds scooping water and the Mars took 1 minute 20 seconds. The CL 415 aircraft were able to do approximately 2 1/4 passes to the Martin Mars.

Water Bomber Links:
Martin Mars Water Bombers
CL 415 Water Bomber Site One  Site Two  Site Three

Weekend Weather Forecast as of 5 am September 6 - 7:22 am
Today .. Sunny. Local smoke. Wind becoming south 15 km/h this afternoon. High 32. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy periods. 40 percent chance of showers or thundershowers. Local smoke. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 15.
Sunday .. Cloudy with sunny periods. 70 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon. High 23.
Air quality forecast ..  Today 52 (poor).  Sunday 38 (fair).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

 

Red Cross Relief Effort Update September 5 - 9:26 pm
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity from across Canada, the Canadian Red Cross has now raised over $2.3 million in donations, pledges and gifts in kind supporting its BC Forest Fire Response Fund. The Red Cross believes this amount will be sufficient to address the unmet needs of those already impacted by the fires in BC.

However, more financial help could be required if the situation changes dramatically.

The funds are already at work in the affected communities, helping families to meet their immediate basic needs as they get re-established. Red Cross funds basic, unmet needs such as food, shelter and clothing.

To schedule an appointment with a case worker, fire-affected individuals in Kelowna can contact Red Cross at (250) 763-1859, ext. 215. Those impacted in the Barriere-McLure area can call 250-672-2128.

Should the amount of donations exceed what is required to address the needs relating to this disaster, remaining funds will go into the Red Cross’ Canadian Disaster Relief Fund. This fund ensures that all Canadians impacted by disaster can access assistance—no matter how much profile and resulting generosity that disaster generates. This fund is critical to allowing Red Cross to quickly mobilize support on the ground quickly. In fact, its existence allowed Red Cross to commit funds in the Barriere-McLure area even before donations were in the bank.

Red Cross is committed to using the funds generously donated by concerned Canadians to ensure basic needs in BC's fire-affected communities are met during the many months of recovery ahead.

Evacuee Registration September 5 - 10:08 am
All evacuees whose referrals expire today, Friday September 5th or tomorrow Saturday September 6th, must go to the Parkinson Recreation Centre to have those referrals extended.  Full EOC Press Release

 

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September 6 Continuous Coverage


The Vaseux Lake fire is holding at 3,300 hectares and is 75% contained. September 6 - 11:53 pm 

We now have a photo of the flame action seen from the Black Mountain area tonight.  (JPG 714K September 6 - 8:25 pm 

Reports of some flame action seen from the vantage point of Black Mountain School looking east towards Joe Rich. Flames initially spotted at 8:15 now dissipating to smoke. September 6 - 8:45 pm 

Unconfirmed reports of a bear cub sighted near the Laughing Moon on Lakeshore at 8:15 pm.  If you spot a wild life problem call 1-800-663-9453 September 6 - 8:41 pm

Trestle Summary: Nine trestles have been lost - numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off.  We are waiting to hear back on the missing two trestles destoryed. See maps for trestle placement. (Map 1 JPG 42K) (Map 2 GIF 87K)  See also our photo gallery for trestle pictures. September 6 - 7:43 pm

The BC Forest Service has provided two dramatic photographs taken today of trestle #18 of the Kettle Valley Railway. The view is from the trail/railbed looking south at trestle 18. The open fire above and south of the trestle is Rank 5 in forest service terms. There is active rank 4 fire below the trestle but the slope may have guided the fire past the trestle. The pictures were taken at approx. 2:30 pm today. September 6 - 7:07 pm

The Laughing Moon Restaurant ( 4600 Lakeshore Rd, Kelowna) is available to fire fighters to eat for free, or for evacuees with meal vouchers. September 6 - 8:10 pm

An estimated 10% of Joe Rich residents are defying the Evacuation Order and staying home.  September 6 - 4:02 pm

The water bombers are in the air again now. September 6 - 2:28 pm

There was a house fire on the Westside near Mount Boucherie.  One house was destroyed and the another damaged.  Vigilant residents helped ensure the fire didn't spread to grassy areas nearby.  It's under control.  Thanks to Jim Baile, Soni Riediger, and  Jo Fritz  for some pictures.  September 6 - 1:39 pm

The Department of National Defense (DND) has a website on Operation Peregrine - the BC fire fighting effort. September 6 - 11:01 am

Fire T-shirts will again be sold at the Costco parking lot today.  See our T-shirt/Hat/Poster page for more information.  September 6 - 9:23 am

Here are a few interesting links to what national media is saying about the fire:
  Globe and Mail - Force Wage War Against Fire
  National Post - Fire Just Won't Quit
  CBC - Kelowna Waits for Winds to Shift

  CBC Radio Real Audio - Fire Behavior Expert Interview

For more local news, check out our newly revamped regular site. September  6 - 8:24 am

New Thermal Maps have been posted (JPG 1.1MB)  (PDF 2.2MB)  taken last night.  No new thermals yet for Vaseux Lake.  Thermal Maps Archive   September  6 - 8:04 am

There was a minor fire started by a construction worker in a debris pile at Big White Thursday.  The fire was quickly brought under control  but the fire re-erupted again Friday in nearby trees.  Again it was brought under control.  All construction work that could make sparks has been banned while the dry conditions persist.  September 5 - 11:00 pm

The lost dog advertised by CORD has been reunited with its owner.  Press release.  Cat lostSeptember 5 - 4:46 pm

BCAA is accepting home insurance on a case by case basis and had a record month in August for writing new policies.  Press Release.  September 5 - 3:25 pm

The Thermoguys have release a sequence of thermo photos of the flare up on the 3rd.  (PDF 272K) September 5 - 2:52 pm

View the revised Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order Map as of 2:10 pm September 4.  (PDF 1MB September 5 - 2:46 pm

View the revised Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order Street List as of 2:10 pm September 4.  (PDF 12K) September 5 - 1:55 pm

NASA has some more satellite photos of the smoke from the fire as of September 2nd 20:55 UTC  Pixel size: 1km | 500m | 250m September 5 - 8:55 am

Highway 33 is open again with restrictions. You must not stop between between the City limits and McCullough Road.  RCMP are set up along the highway to make sure no one stops in this section. September 5 - 6:34 am 

Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main fire hall.  September 4 - 7:32 am

Registration for aquatic programs at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will proceed as scheduled on Saturday September 6thClick for details. September 4 - 6:21 pm 

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now closed for regular programming and is functioning once again as a Reception Centre for evacuees. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible. September 3 - 9:42 pm
 

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Friday September 5

Weekend Weather Forecast as of 4 pm September 5 - 10:41 pm
Tonight .. A few clouds. Local smoke. Low 10.
Saturday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers in the evening with risk of thundershowers. Local smoke dissipating in the afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 31. UV index 5 or moderate.
Sunday .. A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers. Windy. Low 12. High 26.

Red Cross Relief Effort Update September 5 - 9:26 pm
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity from across Canada, the Canadian Red Cross has now raised over $2.3 million in donations, pledges and gifts in kind supporting its BC Forest Fire Response Fund. The Red Cross believes this amount will be sufficient to address the unmet needs of those already impacted by the fires in BC.

However, more financial help could be required if the situation changes dramatically.

The funds are already at work in the affected communities, helping families to meet their immediate basic needs as they get re-established. Red Cross funds basic, unmet needs such as food, shelter and clothing.

To schedule an appointment with a case worker, fire-affected individuals in Kelowna can contact Red Cross at (250) 763-1859, ext. 215. Those impacted in the Barriere-McLure area can call 250-672-2128.

Should the amount of donations exceed what is required to address the needs relating to this disaster, remaining funds will go into the Red Cross’ Canadian Disaster Relief Fund. This fund ensures that all Canadians impacted by disaster can access assistance—no matter how much profile and resulting generosity that disaster generates. This fund is critical to allowing Red Cross to quickly mobilize support on the ground quickly. In fact, its existence allowed Red Cross to commit funds in the Barriere-McLure area even before donations were in the bank.

Red Cross is committed to using the funds generously donated by concerned Canadians to ensure basic needs in BC's fire-affected communities are met during the many months of recovery ahead.

Boaters Make way for Water Bombers September 5 - 4:11 pm
RCMP Press Release - With the cloud cover and smoke lifting, the water bombers are taking advantage of this opportunity to bombard the fire.

Anyone in Kelowna can see that these planes are taking on water in rapid succession. There is little room for error. The RCMP are reminding boaters that they must keep clear of the area as the planes need free and clear access to the lake. This is difficult enough without boaters complicating matters. There is a police vessel on Okanagan Lake to ensure that their fire fighting effort is not hampered as time is of the essence. Please use your common sense.

Kelowna And Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society September 5 - 2:22 pm
The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Society has been formed to coordinate community recovery efforts in the wake of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

The society aims to encourage reconstruction and enhancement in the community and surrounding areas. Working with other agencies and groups, the society hopes to further develop Kelowna’s reputation as a beautiful caring community.

The Society will also oversee the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund, a fund that was recently created to assist in rebuilding lives and the community.

Dave Rush is Chair of the Society and the Board of Directors includes: Sue Dulik, Ken Ficocelli, Jim Grant, Debbie MacMillian, Don Shafer, Shirley Staley, Mark Stober, Gail Temple, Todd Upgaard, Bruce Vidal, and Ken Webster.

The Society has held its first meeting and is in the process of identifying projects that may be eligible to receive funds. The City is conducting a needs assessment analysis and the Society will be using this to help them determine appropriate needs. The emphasis of the Society will be on coordinating recovery efforts to rebuild and restore Kelowna and surrounding communities physically, socially, and economically.

Community input is being sought to develop concepts on potential use of the funds, available resources and needs.

All monies donated to the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund will stay in the area impacted by the Okanangan Mountain Park fire. All donations will be used for the purposes of the Society – no administrative costs will be covered by these funds and all Directors are working as volunteers. Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19.

All queries should be directed to the Society Office at the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre at 520 Bernard Avenue, or by calling 868-2632.
Press Release

Weather Forecast Revised September 5 - 12:02 pm
Environment Canada has revised its forecast and the news is good. It had been predicting strong winds today and tomorrow. Those winds have been downgraded to less than 20 kilometres an hour out of the south west for today and the same for Saturday out of the south. There's also rain in the immediate forecast. Rain is expected to start falling Saturday night and into Sunday.

Notes from the 11 am Press Briefing September 5 - 11:37 am

Ministry of Forestry:
The fire is now 23,600 hectares.  650 firefighters, 22 helicopters, 200 pieces of heavy equipment are working the blaze.  It remains 60% contained. 

Weather has made fire fighting difficult. Weather is 10C higher than normal.  Every afternoon the wind picks up in the hills making fighting the fire difficult.  East side of fire could move 5 - 8 km today. 

Myra Canyon is too difficult for fire fighters to operate in.  Six trestles have been lost numbers 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10.  The wood decks on the metal trestles 6 and 8 have been burned off.  Trestles 1, 2, 11-19 are okay. Visibility is currently very poor in the canyon.  More info will be provided as conditions improve. (KVR Map GIF 87K)

The concern today is about winds of 40-60 km/h moving fire in an eastward direction to Joe Rich.  Flames are still some distance away from Joe Rich though - 10 km.  Gallagher's Canyon is currently not in the fire's path.  The closest homes to the fire are in the June Springs Area with the fire about 4 km away.  If flames are blown the right way, the fire could cross the 4 km distance to June Springs in a couple of hours. 

Fire Chief Zimmerman: 35 other fire departments have returned to Kelowna to help in the latest fire threat.  With the relief in, the City and CORD fire fighters are standing down and taking a much needed day off today.  Crews have also been deployed to the Joe Rich area to assist local efforts there.  Contractors and fire fighters are applying gel to vulnerable structures in all areas.

EOC Director Ron Mattiussi:  The city feels like it is under siege with the fire still in the hills and  threatening to come back at any time.  It's causing a lot of stress on the whole community.  Everyone in the city should be extra patient with each other and appreciate the stress everyone is under.  The new Recovery Center is set up and running.  Barnaby Road area and up remains on Evacuation Alert to spot fires and fire danger.

More Trestles Lost September 5 - 11:28 am
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 23, 600 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

Warm and windy conditions in the higher elevations contributed to the 800 hectare increase in fire size. The fire spread was mainly in the upper portions of Myra Canyon and above the Kettle Valley Railway to the east. There are no residences in this area.
Unfortunately additional trestles have been lost and others are at risk. At this time six wooden trestles have been lost and two others have been damaged.

Some burn off operations were conducted yesterday morning along the Kettle Valley Railway, the flames and smoke were visible from Kelowna. This burn off was successful in reinforcing the control lines along the northern perimeter of the fire; the section that is south of residential subdivisions.

The weather forecast calls for mainly sunny, with warm temperatures along with southwesterly winds in the higher elevations of 25 kilometers per hour and occasional gusts to 35 kilometers per hour.

Temperatures over the last few days were 10 degrees above normals for this time period and were at or near record highs. This is consistent with a summer that has set drought records in much of Southern Interior.

The summer of 2003 was the driest since records began in 1899. Kelowna has set a record for consecutive days without precipitation (44) between June 22nd and August 6th.  Full press release is here.

RCMP Update September 5 - 11:16 am
Kelowna: Winds remained calm last night which meant the Okanagan Mountain Park fire was not pushed any closer to homes on the southeast section of Kelowna. Approximately 3,200 people remain evacuated and a further 15,000 remain on alert.

RCMP, Citizens on Patrol, Bylaws and Commissionaires are manning roadblocks and conducting roving patrols throughout the evacuated areas. Highway 33 remains open to restricted traffic and is subject to a short notice closure. Travelers are reminded that they will not have any side road access nor will stopping along the highway be permitted. There are police patrols within this area.

A Kelowna male was charged yesterday after running the road block at Matthews and Sealy. He attempted entry twice and when he was turned away, became belligerent and verbally abusive to the members working. He went through a yard and in behind the road block. Members activated their emergency equipment and followed. The male refused to stop until he pulled into a driveway. At this point the male was identified, arrested and released on an Appearance Notice. He is facing charges of Failing to Stop/Cause Pursuit and Be in a Restricted Zone contrary to the Forest Practice Code.

Day Passes Issued Today September 5 - 10:08 am
Day passes (temporary re-entry) for people in most areas under Evacuation Order (Gallagher's Canyon, Joe Rich, McCulloch Road, McCulloch Lake, and south west of the City of Kelowna boundary to Stewart Road West) are being issued today between 9:45 am and 2:00 pm.  Proof of residency will be required at RCMP road checks.  Only residents who have valid proof that they live in the area will be allowed re-entry today.  As a safety precaution, residents on Evacuation Order from the June Springs area above the power-line are not being allowed re-entry at this time.  

Agricultural Passes are being issued today between 9:30 am and 2:00 pm from the Ministry of Agriculture office, #200-1690 Powick Road.  Passes will only be provided to farmers with proper identification.  A driver's license will be required as well as vehicle license plate numbers and the number of passengers in each vehicle.  Labourers must travel with the farm operator who obtains the pass.  If producers have any questions they're asked to contact Wray McDonnell at 250-878-3636. Full EOC Press Release

Evacuee Registration September 5 - 10:08 am
All evacuees whose referrals expire today, Friday September 5th or tomorrow Saturday September 6th, must go to the Parkinson Recreation Centre to have those referrals extended.  Full EOC Press Release

Firefighting Ranks Bolstered September 5 - 6:45 am
MORNING UPDATE FROM THE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
It's a bonus when forecast winds don't materialize!

Such was the case last night, as winds remained relatively calm, not pushing the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire any closer to homes on the southeast section of Kelowna.

City fire crews and those supporting them from neighbouring municipalities continued their routine patrols of evacuated and other areas. They quickly snuffed out a few small spot fires. Some crews also pre-treated houses in a few areas with fire retardant gel.

As Emergency Preparedness officials planned for gusty winds, they requested more support from out of the region to help with the possible fire fighting effort. Trucks and crews from municipalities around the province have again started to return to Kelowna. It's expected by later today that 40 units will have arrived from local fire departments throughout B.C. They'll assist City of Kelowna and neighbouring fire crews through the weekend taking pro-active measures and pre-planning houses that should be treated with gel, should the fire spread toward them.

All Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in effect today. An estimated 3,200 people remain out of their homes in the Gallagher's Canyon, Joe Rich, McCulloch Road, southern end of June Springs Road, McCulloch Lake and south west of the City boundary to Stewart Road West. There hasn't been any change in the Day Pass Re-entry situation for these residents. Once fire officials survey the status of the fire this morning and consider today's possible weather impact on the fire, this will be reviewed.

More than 15,000 other residents of Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan remain on Evacuation Alert. 9,600 people living in the Belgo, Black Mountain, Toovey Heights and upper southeast Kelowna areas were put on Alert yesterday afternoon.

Customers of the Black Mountain Irrigation District are reminded that a Boil Water Advisory is in effect until further notice.

Under a Boil Advisory water should be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes, then be allowed to cool, prior to drinking, making juice or food preparation. Bottled water is a good option for those who prefer not to boil their water.

The Irrigation District has had to remove its chlorine cylinders from the BMID water treatment works due to the forest fire threat. Without chlorination water entering the service grid will not be adequately disinfected.

This Boil Water Advisory does not apply to customers of Rutland Water Works.
Full new release

Friday Weather and Air Quality September 5 - 6:37 am
Today .. Sunny with cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High 30. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 11.
Saturday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind becoming south 30 km/h in the afternoon. High 31.
Air quality Friday: 62 (poor).  Saturday 51 (poor).  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

 

Evening Recap  September 5 - 6:30 am
Five KVR trestles are confirmed lost in the Okanagan Mountain Park fire – but once the smoke clears and officials get a better look, that number could unfortunately go higher.  The affected trestles were numbers 3,4,5,6 and 7,  A sixth trestle has been damaged.

Fire Information Officer Darren Campbell says gusty southwest winds that were predicted didn’t develop and last night turned out much better than originally thought.  But he does admit the blaze may have destroyed more of the historic Kettle Valley trestles and they’ll know more once they get an aerial assessment of the Myra Canyon later this morning.

 Fighting the fire in the canyon has been challenging, to say the least.  Officials call it a  ‘steep box’ canyon with a considerable amount of fuel, both natural and man-made. The KVR trestles are completely OR partially made from creosoted timbers, which are like timbers soaked in kerosene. Once these fuels are ignited, they are virtually impossible to extinguish.

Customers on the Black Mountain Irrigation district have to boil their drinking water again. Another boil advisory was issued last night at 6.

Water should be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes, then be allowed to cool, prior to drinking, making juice or being used in food preparation.

Two new evacuation alerts were announced yesterday afternoon because of increased fire activity. Residents in the Belgo, Black Mountain and Toovey Heights areas are on alert.
An Evacuation Alert is also in place for residents of upper southeast Kelowna, the area immediately west of the Gallagher's Canyon subdivision.

These new alerts affect approximately 9,600 people, bringing the total number of area residents on Alert to 15,100.
 

Fire Trestles Destroyed by Fire September 4 - 7:29 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 19 helicopters and 197 pieces of heavy equipment.

At a 2:00 PM B.C. Forest Service Operations meeting today the following update was provided.

There has been a significant amount of damage done to the historic Kettle Valley Railway trestles. The full extent of the damage is not known at this time due to the dense smoke within the Myra Canyon; however we do know that five trestles have been destroyed. Every effort is being made to protect this very important piece of British Columbia’s heritage.

The complications that are adding to the intense fire behavior are the steep box canyon and the considerable amount of fuel, both natural and man-made. These trestles are completely or partially made from creosoted timbers, which are like timbers soaked in kerosene. Once these fuels are ignited, they are virtually impossible to extinguish.
The heavy lift helicopters worked to coat the trestles with long term fire retardant this morning. Good progress was made but the effect of those efforts remains to be seen.
Crews worked to consolidate fire lines by burning off the forest fuels between the Kettle Valley right of way and the southern fire front. These operations have been very successful today.
Full new release
 

Boil Water Advisory for Black Mountain irrigation District September 4 - 5:58 pm
Customers of the Black Mountain Irrigation District are advised a Boil Water Advisory is in effect as of 6:00 p.m. Thursday September 4th.

Under a Boil Advisory water should be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes, then be allowed to cool, prior to drinking, making juice or food preparation. Bottled water is a good option for those who prefer not to boil their water.

The Irrigation District has had to remove its chlorine cylinders from the BMID water treatment works due to the forest fire threat. Without chlorination water entering the service grid will not be adequately disinfected.

This Boil Water Advisory does not apply to customers of Rutland Water Works. 
Full EOC Press Release

 

New Evacuation Alerts September 4 - 3:41 pm
The British Columbia Fire Commissioner's Office has instituted two new evacuation alerts for the Kelowna area due to Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire activity.

Residents in the Belgo, Black Mountain and Toovey Heights areas are on Evacuation Alert   (Click for a street list).

An Evacuation Alert is also in place for residents of upper southeast Kelowna, the area immediately west of the Gallagher's Canyon subdivision. (Click for a street list.)

These new Evacuation Alerts affect approximately 9,600 people, bringing the total number of area residents on Evacuation Alert to 15,100.

Residents are advised to gather essential items such as medications, glasses, valuable papers and keepsakes such as photographs. Preparations should be made to move any disabled persons and young children. Pets and livestock should be moved to a safe area.

As much advance notice as possible will be given should the need to evacuate occur, however limited notice may occur due to changing conditions. 
Full EOC Press Release

A map of the new alert area is now available.  (PDF 1MB)

 

Winds Increase Fire Activity September 4 - 10:41 am

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 19 helicopters and 197 pieces of heavy equipment.  The fire grew by approximately 1,700 hectares in the last 24 hours, and is estimated to be 60 percent contained.

Yesterday’s winds in combination with the extremely dry forest created very volatile burning conditions and extreme fire behaviour. The fire spread in a northeasterly direction between Bellevue Creek to Myra Canyon.

The fire has moved into the west side of Myra Canyon; two trestles on the Kettle Valley Railway were lost, an additional two were damaged. The rest of the trestles are considered to be at risk.

No residential structures were lost overnight; crews continue to patrol and mop the north sector of the fire along with the structural firefighters.
Mop up and patrol operations are continuing on the east side which was not affected by yesterday’s fire spread.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares in size. Resources include 610 fire fighters, four helicopters and 89 pieces of heavy equipment.

Yesterday’s winds produced active fire and flare ups on the northeast sector; fire fighters were able to hold the fire within the established control lines with aerial support from helicopters. The Dutton Creek canyon area is continuing to prove challenging for the crews, as control lines must be established using hand tools in the steep terrain.
Mop up operations continue in the Vasuex drainage. Other control lines in the south sector are secure with few hot spots found in the southwest, west and north areas.
Crews continue to ensure continuous water supply and delivery to assist in the mop up operations. 
Full new release.

Top

 

September 5 Continuous Coverage


There was a minor fire started by a construction worker in a debris pile at Big White yesterday.  The fire was quickly brought under control  but the fire re-erupted again today in nearby trees.  Again it was brought under control.  All construction work that could make sparks has been banned while the dry conditions persist.  September 5 - 11:00 pm

Did you know that thanks to your photo contributions, we have over 1,700 (and growing) photos in our photo gallery. Thanks for your help in documenting this event.  September 5 - 10:50 pm

The lost dog advertised by CORD has been reunited with its owner.  Press release.  September 5 - 4:46 pm

BCAA is accepting home insurance on a case by case basis and had a record month in August for writing new policies.  Press Release.  September 5 - 3:25 pm

The Thermo guys have release a sequence of thermo photos of the flare up on the 3rd.  (PDF 272K) September 5 - 2:52 pm

View the revised Evacuation Alert and Order Map as of 2:10 pm Sept. 4rd.  (PDF 1MB September 5 - 2:46 pm

The EOC has released a list that covers both the streets under Evacuation Alert and those under Evacuation Order, separated accordingly.  (PDF 12K) September 5 - 1:55 pm

Five water bombers and a Martin Mars water bomber are attacking the fire. Boaters are being asked to stay away.  September 5 - 1:34 pm

The two bombers making passes over the city have been joined by several more now. September 5 - 1:03 pm

Mars bombers are now doing drops on the fire, making passes over downtown Kelowna to the Lake.  September 5 - 12:06 pm

NASA has some more satellite photos of the smoke from the fire as of September 2nd 20:55 UTC  Pixel size: 1km | 500m | 250m September 5 - 8:55 am

Stonebridge and South Ridge "Welcome Home" picnic- September 7 , 4 - 7p.m. at the corner of South Ridge and Frost. Sponsored by local builders and Summit South Joint Ventures. B.B.Q. burgers and sausage supplied . Just bring pot luck salads, a chair and drink - Special children's activities . Donations to the Fire Relief Fund will be welcomed by the residents as we share our stories of a new community's miracle of survival ! Contact Kathryn at 764-6080 September 5 - 8:36 am

Traffic: The RCMP's annual bike ride "Cops for Kids" is on highway 97 from Penticton to Peachland this morning.  Use extra caution.  There is an accident on highway 97 on the bridge over the railway tracks near the airport.  September 5 - 8:36 am

Five of the hairdressers at Picture Perfect Hair & Esthetics are donating free haircuts and free manicures to firefighters & RCMP.  Please call 765-8824. September 5 - 8:18 am

Business as usual for schools in Evacuation Alert areas this morning. The schools have contingency plans if an Evacuation Alert is updated to an Evacuation Order.   September 5 - 8:05 am

Fire grew by 1,000 hectares last night.  More trestles beyond the 5 reported may have been lost.   No homes were threatened.  September 5 - 7:57 am

New Thermal Maps have been posted (JPG 1.1MB)  (PDF 2.3MB)  No new thermals yet for Vaseux Lake.  Thermal Maps Archive   September 5 - 7:57 am

Our photo gallery now has pictures of the Kettle Valley Railway before the fire.  It's in "Newest Pictures" or click here.  We'll move the folder to its own directory Saturday.  September 5 - 6:51 am 

Highway 33 is open again with restrictions. You must not stop between between the City limits and McCullough Road.  RCMP are set up along the highway to make sure no one stops in this section. September 5 - 6:34 am 

Rick Thorpe - Province will help rebuild trestles. September 5 - 6:30 am 

A Castanet reader forwarded this map of Myra Canyon and the KVR from a draft of a book that was not published.  Note trestles 3,4,5,6 and 7 have been destroyed.  (GIF 87K) September 4 - 8:30 pm 

Registration for aquatic programs at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will proceed as scheduled on Saturday September 6thClick for details. September 4 - 6:21 pm 

It is now reported that 5 KVR trestles have been destroyed.  The affected trestles were numbers 3,4,5,6 and 7. September 4 - 5:30 pm 

Evacuees can take their pets to the BC SPCA- Kelowna Branch shelter on Casorso Road, which has not been evacuated. Pet food and hay are also available.  The shelter can be reached at 861-7722. September 4 - 3:27 pm

 If you have questions about the Black Mountain Irrigation District boil water order you can also access www.bmid.org or call the BMID office at 765-5169. September 4 - 3:26 pm

CORD is looking for the owners of a dog lost during the fireLink   See also lost cat September 4 - 2:48 pm  

Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main firehall.  September 4 - 7:32 am

Kelowna Doctors & Dentists have produced a “Stay Safe” poster now available at doctors & dentists’ offices, walk-in clinics, X-ray labs, and blood work labs and the Volunteers’ Gift Shop at KGH.  Prepared & printed at no charge by the staff of the Capital News, the poster is a collage of many of the extraordinary “signs” which Kelowna citizens have put up in recent days to express their gratitude to those who came to this community’s aid in recent days.  The posters are available “by Donation” and all proceeds will go to The Yellow Ribbon Fire Relief Fund. (PDF  1MB) September 4 - 7:16 am

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now closed for regular programming and is functioning once again as a Reception Centre for evacuees. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible. September 3 - 9:42 pm

The Emergency Operations Center has released a new map of the new Evacuation Order, and Evacuation Alert area as of 8:15 pm this evening.  (
PDF 1MB) September 3 - 9:42 pm

 

Top

 

Thursday September 4

Fire Trestles Destroyed by Fire September 4 - 7:29 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE - The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 19 helicopters and 197 pieces of heavy equipment.

At a 2:00 PM B.C. Forest Service Operations meeting today the following update was provided.

There has been a significant amount of damage done to the historic Kettle Valley Railway trestles. The full extent of the damage is not known at this time due to the dense smoke within the Myra Canyon; however we do know that five trestles have been destroyed. Every effort is being made to protect this very important piece of British Columbia’s heritage.

The complications that are adding to the intense fire behavior are the steep box canyon and the considerable amount of fuel, both natural and man-made. These trestles are completely or partially made from creosoted timbers, which are like timbers soaked in kerosene. Once these fuels are ignited, they are virtually impossible to extinguish.
The heavy lift helicopters worked to coat the trestles with long term fire retardant this morning. Good progress was made but the effect of those efforts remains to be seen.
Crews worked to consolidate fire lines by burning off the forest fuels between the Kettle Valley right of way and the southern fire front. These operations have been very successful today.
Full new release
 

Boil Water Advisory for Black Mountain irrigation District September 4 - 5:58 pm
Customers of the Black Mountain Irrigation District are advised a Boil Water Advisory is in effect as of 6:00 p.m. Thursday September 4th.

Under a Boil Advisory water should be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes, then be allowed to cool, prior to drinking, making juice or food preparation. Bottled water is a good option for those who prefer not to boil their water.

The Irrigation District has had to remove its chlorine cylinders from the BMID water treatment works due to the forest fire threat. Without chlorination water entering the service grid will not be adequately disinfected.

This Boil Water Advisory does not apply to customers of Rutland Water Works. 
Full EOC Press Release

 

New Evacuation Alerts September 4 - 3:41 pm
The British Columbia Fire Commissioner's Office has instituted two new evacuation alerts for the Kelowna area due to Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire activity.

Residents in the Belgo, Black Mountain and Toovey Heights areas are on Evacuation Alert   (Click for a street list).

An Evacuation Alert is also in place for residents of upper southeast Kelowna, the area immediately west of the Gallagher's Canyon subdivision. (Click for a street list.)

These new Evacuation Alerts affect approximately 9,600 people, bringing the total number of area residents on Evacuation Alert to 15,100.

Residents are advised to gather essential items such as medications, glasses, valuable papers and keepsakes such as photographs. Preparations should be made to move any disabled persons and young children. Pets and livestock should be moved to a safe area.

As much advance notice as possible will be given should the need to evacuate occur, however limited notice may occur due to changing conditions. 
Full EOC Press Release

A map of the new alert area is now available.  (PDF 1MB)

 

Winds Increase Fire Activity September 4 - 10:41 am

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 19 helicopters and 197 pieces of heavy equipment.  The fire grew by approximately 1,700 hectares in the last 24 hours, and is estimated to be 60 percent contained.

Yesterday’s winds in combination with the extremely dry forest created very volatile burning conditions and extreme fire behaviour. The fire spread in a northeasterly direction between Bellevue Creek to Myra Canyon.

The fire has moved into the west side of Myra Canyon; two trestles on the Kettle Valley Railway were lost, an additional two were damaged. The rest of the trestles are considered to be at risk.

No residential structures were lost overnight; crews continue to patrol and mop the north sector of the fire along with the structural firefighters.
Mop up and patrol operations are continuing on the east side which was not affected by yesterday’s fire spread.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares in size. Resources include 610 fire fighters, four helicopters and 89 pieces of heavy equipment.

Yesterday’s winds produced active fire and flare ups on the northeast sector; fire fighters were able to hold the fire within the established control lines with aerial support from helicopters. The Dutton Creek canyon area is continuing to prove challenging for the crews, as control lines must be established using hand tools in the steep terrain.
Mop up operations continue in the Vasuex drainage. Other control lines in the south sector are secure with few hot spots found in the southwest, west and north areas.
Crews continue to ensure continuous water supply and delivery to assist in the mop up operations. 
Full new release.

 

No Day Passes Today September 4 - 10:10 am
Due to increased fire activity there will be no day passes issued today for those 3,200 residents under Evacuation Order in the Gallagher's Canyon subdivision, the Joe Rich area, McCulloch Road, the southern end of June Springs Road , the McCulloch Lake area and south west of the City boundary to Stewart Road West.

Last night close to 1,300 evacuees registered at the Reception Centre at the Parkinson Recreation Centre on Harvey Avenue between Burtch and Spall Roads. Approximately 60 volunteers are on hand this morning and registration is going smoothly. All evacuees are requested to register should they require food, clothing or lodging, and to assist family or friends who may be concerned for their safety.

The fire grew 1,700 hectares over the past 24 hours and now stands at 22,840 hectares. It is 60% contained, 30% of that is lakeshore.

The Kelowna Fire Department has numerous crews patrolling fire impacted areas to snuff out hot spots and flare ups, bolstered by 16 units from out of town.

The leading edge of the fire is approximately three or four kilometres from homes on June Springs Road, and ten kilometres or more away from other residential areas. Fire crews were kept busy overnight controlling sparks in these areas, and today's plans include the re-application of barricade gel to the homes at the south end of June Springs Road.   Full EOC Press Release

 

EOC Morning Update September 4 - 7:00 am

From the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)): South westerly winds flared fires on Wednesday evening but quieted through the night. Structural fire fighting crews continued to patrol and mop up the hot spots in the Crawford Estates area. Although the June Springs and East Kelowna areas were more active, the fire slowed during the evening and moved further to the east.

There are presently 16 crews and three task forces patrolling the fire impacted areas.

The Evacuation Order for residents in the Gallagher's Canyon Subdivision, McCulloch Road and McCulloch Lake areas, south west of the City boundary to Stewart Road West and Joe Rich in the Regional District are still in place.

All evacuees are advised to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Burtch Avenue and Spall Road.

With this new order 3,200 people are on Evacuation Order, including those 70 residents already on Order who live outside of the City boundary at the south end in the southern end of June Springs Road.  
Full EOC Press Release
 

Thursday Weather & Air Quality September 4 - 6:20 am

Today. Sunny with cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High 30. UV index 5 or moderate. Tonight. Cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 12.  Friday.  Sunny with cloudy periods. Local smoke. High 28.

Air quality today 63 (poor).  Firday 51 (poor)  Quality ratings of 'good', 'fair', 'poor' correspond to air quality sub-index ranges of 0-25, 26-50 and >50 respectively.

 

Evening Recap  - Okanagan Mountain Park Fire September 4 - 6 am
South winds whipped new life into the Okanagan Mountain Park fire last night, forcing more people from their homes.

Around 7:30 last night, hundreds of residents in the McCulloch Road, McCulloch Lake, Gallaghers Canyon and Joe Rich areas were told to leave. RCMP went door-to-door in an effort to spread the word. With this new order, a total of 3,200 people remain on Evacuation Order in our city – including those at the south end of June Springs Road.

The Parkinson Recreation Centre has once again been set up as an emergency reception center and all regular programming at the Recreation Centre is now suspended. If you are looking for information regarding an evacuee – the number to call is 869-0386.

All schools remain open. Assistant Superintendent Juleen McElgunn says both Black Mountain and South Kelowna Elementary will operate as usual today. She assures concerned parents that student safety is their number one priority and plans are in place to move students quickly, should the need arise.
 

New Evacuation Order - Gallaghers & Area September 3 - 8:58 pm
Due to increased fire activity the BC Fire Commissioner’s Office has issued a new Evacuation Order for Kelowna and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

The Evacuation Order includes the Gallagher’s Canyon subdivision, all residents on McCulloch Road east of that subdivision and in the McCulloch Lake area, and south west to the City boundary in approximately a two-kilometre wide swath to Stewart Road West. The Evacuation Order also includes all of the Joe Rich area in the Regional District.

All evacuees are advised to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Burtch Avenue and Spall Road.

With this new order 3,200 people are on Evacuation Order, including those 70 residents already on Order who live outside of the City boundary at the south end in the southern end of June Springs Road.
Full EOC Press Release

View a list of streets affected here.  Link

Click for a map of the new Evacuation Order, and Evacuation Alert area as of 8:15 pm this evening.  (PDF 1MB)


The call centre for information related to the Okanagan Mountain Park Forest Fire will be available until 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Anyone needing information on evacuation procedures should call: 869-0386

 

Active Fire and Heavy Smoke September 3 - 6:37 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – We are experiencing very active fire behaviour on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire in the area between Bellevue Creek and Myra Canyon. The fire is currently moving in a northerly direction in the Priest Creek drainage above the June Springs area. Airtankers have been requested to apply retardant to the active fire front.

Residents of the June Springs area remain on evacuation order and have been granted day passes to allow entry. The RCMP are now patrolling the June Springs area to ensure residents are no longer present.


The forests are critically dry; this is the overwhelming factor for fire behaviour; the fire responds dramatically to any slight change in temperature, winds, slope, or fuel type.


We continue to monitor and use our resources to their fullest potential. The safety of the fire fighters and public remains our highest priority.
Full new release.


Evacuation Alert Area Reduced in Size
September 3 - 4:21 pm
The B.C. Fire Commissioner’s Office has changed the boundaries of the Evacuation Alert area now in effect in Kelowna as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

The Evacuation Alert has been lifted for residents north of Barnaby Road, north east of Crawford Road, north of Saucier Road and Spiers Road and north east of the intersection of McCulloch Road and Gulley Road.

Approximately 9,250 residents in the Joe Rich, Gallagher’s Canyon, Uplands/Okaview, Kettle Valley and Crawford Estates areas, as well as around Hydraulic (McCulloch) Lake, remain under Evacuation Alert. They should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice should the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire threaten their neighbourhoods. (See map PDF 1MB)

The new Evacuation Alert area falls within the following boundaries (only the south or east sides of the following roads are included):

From Okanagan Lake east to Barnaby Road to the west side of Westridge Dirve, to include all of the Crawford Estates subdivision and along Crawford Road crossing Stewart Road West and along the east side of Stewart Road West to Saucier Road and along the south side of Saucier Road north and east to Spiers Road to June Springs Road and following Gulley Road to McCullough Road on the south side turning north 100 metres east of Mahonia Drive to include all of Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Course and subdivision and following the west side of Gallagher’s to Mission Creek. Then following the south side of Mission Creek to the City of Kelowna boundary; east on Highway 33 including five kilometres on the north of Highway 33 East until you reach the east border of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan; following the Regional District border south and west back to Okanagan Lake not including those areas currently under Evacuation Order.

Approximately 70 residents who live outside the City’s eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road remain on Evacuation Order as the leading edge of the fire could threaten their homes if south winds prevail.

Click for a map of the new Evacuation Alert, Evacuation Order, and fire edge map as of September 3, 9:38 am. (PDF 1MB)    Full EOC Press Release

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September 4 Continuous Coverage


A Castanet reader forwarded this map of Myra Canyon and the KVR from a draft of a book that was not published.  Note trestles 3,4,5,6 and 7 have been destroyed.  (GIF 87K) September 4 - 8:30 pm 

New Thermal Maps are available
Okanagan Mountain Park
   (JPG 1.1MB)  (PDF 1.9MB)
  (Sept 4)
Vaseux Lake maps have not been updated.
   (JPG 966K) (PDF 2.7MB)  
(Sept 2)

Thermal Maps Archive
Registration for aquatic programs at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will proceed as scheduled on Saturday September 6thClick for details. September 4 - 6:21 pm 

It is now reported that 5 KVR trestles have been destroyed.  The affected trestles were numbers 3,4,5,6 and 7. September 4 - 5:30 pm 

Evacuees can take their pets to the BC SPCA- Kelowna Branch shelter on Casorso Road, which has not been evacuated. Pet food and hay are also available.  The shelter can be reached at 861-7722. September 4 - 3:27 pm

 If you have questions about the Black Mountain Irrigation District boil water order you can also access www.bmid.org or call the BMID office at 765-5169. September 4 - 3:26 pm

We are currently working on a linking problem to our regular site.  You can click here to get around the problem for the time being.  September 4 - 3:00 pm  

CORD is looking for the owners of a dog lost during the fireLink   September 4 - 2:48 pm  

Wondering about the black cloud?  Forestry crews are burning off timber and forest fuel which is causing the black cloud of smoke above the southern ridges.  September 4 - 2:24 pm  

As of 12:30 PM  September 4th, 2003 Black Mountain Irrigation is on a water boil order BOIL.  The irrigation district was ordered to remove all chlorine tanks from their  intake/chlorinator facility due to fire danger.  If you are unsure of your water supplier, visit www.kjwc.org or for more info call 765-5169  September 4 - 1:18 pm

The web cam has been repointed.  September 4 - 12:43 pm

If you are at Big White now, you are allowed to return to Kelowna.  You will not be able to return to the mountain however.  Everyone is being turned away from Highway 33 road blocks, included Big White employees.  September 4 - 8:33 am

The fire is now estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size.  That's up from 21,000 yesterday.  September 4 - 8:05 am

Enterprise Way is closed at Dilworth behind the main firehall.  September 4 - 7:32 am

Kelowna Doctors & Dentists have produced a “Stay Safe” poster now available at doctors & dentists’ offices, walk-in clinics, X-ray labs, and blood work labs and the Volunteers’ Gift Shop at KGH.  Prepared & printed at no charge by the staff of the Capital News, the poster is a collage of many of the extraordinary “signs” which Kelowna citizens have put up in recent days to express their gratitude to those who came to this community’s aid in recent days.  The posters are available “by Donation” and all proceeds will go to The Yellow Ribbon Fire Relief Fund. (PDF  1MB) September 4 - 7:16 am

All schools remain open this morning.  September 4 - 7:00 am

The call centre for information related to the Okanagan Mountain Park Forest is available 8 am - 8 pm today.   Anyone needing information on evacuation procedures should call: 869-0386 September 4 - 6:50 pm

Highway 33 remains closed between the City boundary and the McCulloch Road turnoff.  Just confirmed that with the Fire Dept.  So that means anyone trying to get to the Kootenays will have to take 97 to Osoyoos and then go across.  Road blocks are in place at entrances into the evacuated areas.  September 4 - 6:07 am

Idabel Lake is not included in the evacuation order. September 3 - 10:37 pm

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now closed for regular programming and is functioning once again as a Reception Centre for evacuees. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible. September 3 - 9:42 pm

The Emergency Operations Center has released a new map of the new Evacuation Order, and Evacuation Alert area as of 8:15 pm this evening.  (
PDF 1MB) September 3 - 9:42 pm

The Thermoguys have provided two new close pictures of the fire from today and tonight.  AM (PDF 429K) PM (PDF 387K)  September 3 - 7:53 pm

The City has announced a special garbage pickup on Friday for fire affected areas.  Read the full press release here.   September 3 - 5:21 pm

The Premier is again urging British Columbians to conserve water.  Press release.  September 3 - 4:48 pm

The PEP website has a document (PDF) that lists all central interior active evacuation orders and alerts as of September 3.  They also have a map showing all active fires currently in BC (GIF).  September 3, 1:51 pm

Willow Park Church is inviting the community to join at Skyreach Place Sunday to celebrate the city and its volunteers. The service will be a time of thanksgiving, hope, comfort, and celebration. Skyreach Place doors open at 9:30am, with the service starting at 10am, and running until 11:30am. A BBQ lunch will be available after by donation. This event is a gift to our city; no offering will be taken, although there will be an opportunity to give to the fire relief fund. September 3, 10:26 am

 

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Wednesday September 3

New Evacuation Order - Gallaghers & Area September 3 - 8:58 pm
Due to increased fire activity the BC Fire Commissioner’s Office has issued a new Evacuation Order for Kelowna and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

The Evacuation Order includes the Gallagher’s Canyon subdivision, all residents on McCulloch Road east of that subdivision and in the McCulloch Lake area, and south west to the City boundary in approximately a two-kilometre wide swath to Stewart Road West. The Evacuation Order also includes all of the Joe Rich area in the Regional District.

All evacuees are advised to register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way, off Highway 97 between Burtch Avenue and Spall Road.

With this new order 3,200 people are on Evacuation Order, including those 70 residents already on Order who live outside of the City boundary at the south end in the southern end of June Springs Road.
Full EOC Press Release

View a list of streets affected here.  Link

Click for a map of the new Evacuation Order, and Evacuation Alert area as of 8:15 pm this evening.  (PDF 1MB)


The call centre for information related to the Okanagan Mountain Park Forest Fire will be available until 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Anyone needing information on evacuation procedures should call: 869-0386

 

Active Fire and Heavy Smoke September 3 - 6:37 pm
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – We are experiencing very active fire behaviour on the Okanagan Mountain Park fire in the area between Bellevue Creek and Myra Canyon. The fire is currently moving in a northerly direction in the Priest Creek drainage above the June Springs area. Airtankers have been requested to apply retardant to the active fire front.

Residents of the June Springs area remain on evacuation order and have been granted day passes to allow entry. The RCMP are now patrolling the June Springs area to ensure residents are no longer present.


The forests are critically dry; this is the overwhelming factor for fire behaviour; the fire responds dramatically to any slight change in temperature, winds, slope, or fuel type.


We continue to monitor and use our resources to their fullest potential. The safety of the fire fighters and public remains our highest priority.
Full new release.


Evacuation Alert Area Reduced in Size
September 3 - 4:21 pm
The B.C. Fire Commissioner’s Office has changed the boundaries of the Evacuation Alert area now in effect in Kelowna as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

The Evacuation Alert has been lifted for residents north of Barnaby Road, north east of Crawford Road, north of Saucier Road and Spiers Road and north east of the intersection of McCulloch Road and Gulley Road.

Approximately 9,250 residents in the Joe Rich, Gallagher’s Canyon, Uplands/Okaview, Kettle Valley and Crawford Estates areas, as well as around Hydraulic (McCulloch) Lake, remain under Evacuation Alert. They should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice should the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire threaten their neighbourhoods. (See map PDF 1MB)

The new Evacuation Alert area falls within the following boundaries (only the south or east sides of the following roads are included):

From Okanagan Lake east to Barnaby Road to the west side of Westridge Dirve, to include all of the Crawford Estates subdivision and along Crawford Road crossing Stewart Road West and along the east side of Stewart Road West to Saucier Road and along the south side of Saucier Road north and east to Spiers Road to June Springs Road and following Gulley Road to McCullough Road on the south side turning north 100 metres east of Mahonia Drive to include all of Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Course and subdivision and following the west side of Gallagher’s to Mission Creek. Then following the south side of Mission Creek to the City of Kelowna boundary; east on Highway 33 including five kilometres on the north of Highway 33 East until you reach the east border of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan; following the Regional District border south and west back to Okanagan Lake not including those areas currently under Evacuation Order.

Approximately 70 residents who live outside the City’s eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road remain on Evacuation Order as the leading edge of the fire could threaten their homes if south winds prevail.

Click for a map of the new Evacuation Alert, Evacuation Order, and fire edge map as of September 3, 9:38 am. (PDF 1MB)    Full EOC Press Release

 

Day Re-entry for June Springs Residents September 3 - 2:10 pm
Residents who live outside the City’s eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road will be permitted to return to return to their homes today until 5:00 p.m. Proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks. The approximate 70 residents of this area remain on Evacuation Order due to the threat of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

Public Safety Reiminder
The public is asked to stay out of fire-impacted Crown land and open space private property. Joggers, bikers, hikers and walkers should not be in these areas at any time. Danger trees and deep ash pits pose a significant threat to public safety. Many trees may look healthy but their root structures and trunks could be burned through, rendering them extremely unstable and susceptible to falling at a moment’s notice. Ash pits five feet deep exist and these pits are not easily discernable.

Firefighters continue to work extinguishing fires and hot spots. The public is asked to contact the Fire Department if they notice any flare ups in their neighbourhood. Call 860-6419.

Garbage Disposal
Property owners cleaning up after the Okanagan Mountain Park fire are asked to avoid leaving garbage and debris at the corner of Barnaby and Lakeshore Roads. While a dumpster has been available at this site for fire fighting crews, it has now been removed and there is no garbage collection from this area. 
Full EOC Press Release
 

Good Progress Made By Fire Crews September 3 - 10:12 am
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE

The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 21,000 hectares in size. Resources in place include 686 fire-fighters, 18 helicopters and 176 pieces of heavy equipment.  There was no significant fire movement last night; the fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained. Control lines on the south, southeast, north and northeast sectors are holding well, crews continue to mop up and patrol these areas.

Control lines are being established on the east slope of Bellevue Creek, along the finger of the fire that ran to the southeast. If weather conditions are favourable, burn off operations will be conducted to reinforce these control lines. Crews will also receive aerial support, as they work to protect the steel trestle over Bellevue Creek.

The fire is four to five kilometers away from the Myra Canyon Kettle Valley Railroad trestles and is not moving any closer in that direction.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation. Winds are expected to be from the south as a result smoke will probably accumulate in the valley today.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares in size. Resources include 610 fire fighters, of which 200 are military personnel, six helicopters and 89 pieces of heavy equipment.

This fire is now estimated to be 60 per cent contained. Yesterday was a good day on all sectors. Large smoldering and unburnt fuels in the steep terrain of Dutton Creek Canyon still poses a challenge for the crews.

Crews have been making good progress in mop up operations in the Vaseux Creek drainage. The calm winds of the last two days have allowed the crews the opportunity to make good progress on the southeast flank.

Crews continue to work to extinguish any hot spots and mop up along the entire perimeter. Full new release.


Wednesday's Weather / Air Quality  September 3 - 6:22 pm
As of 5 am.  Today .. Sunny. Local smoke. Wind light. High 33. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight .. A few clouds. Local smoke. Wind light. Low 13.
Thursday .. Sunny with cloudy periods. Local smoke. High 32   
Air quality forecast ..  Today 51 (poor).  Tomorrow 51 (poor).

 

Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre Established  September 2 - 6:22 pm
Kelowna residents in need of assistance as a result of the recent Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire now have a central place to access recovery information. As of Wednesday September 3rd all recovery matters will be handled from 520 Bernard Avenue. RBC Royal Bank has generously provided the City of Kelowna with this office space in their former downtown branch.

Several telephone lines are being installed to answer residents’ queries:
• 869-0386 Recovery Centre Office
• 868-2632 Public Information Line
• 868-2605 Recovery Social Services and Housing

Services in the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre will include:
• Damage assessment
• Agency referral
• Demolition permit information
• Building permit information
• Sewer connection and septic tank permit information

“It is essential we have a central place for displaced residents to determine what their next steps will be, as they begin to recover from this devastating fire,” says David Shipclark, Manager Community Development & Real Estate, City of Kelowna. “We will be providing access to fundamental resources needed at this difficult time.”

“We hope this contribution of office space will make a difference in the lives of individuals and families affected by the severe forest fires,” said Bruce Jones, RBC Royal Bank’s Regional Vice-President, B.C. Interior & North. “We are truly concerned and want to do what we can to help."

The Recovery Centre will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

In addition the newly formed Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund, established by the City of Kelowna, will be based in these premises. The fund will be administered by a committee chaired by Kelowna lawyer David Rush.

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is no longer acting as a Reception Centre for evacuees. All Emergency Social Services queries should be directed to the Recovery Centre at 868-2605. 
Full EOC Press Release
 

Parkinson Recreation Centre is Open For Fitness & Leisure September 2 - 6:22 pm
The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now back in business! The weight room, gymnasium and fitness programs will be up and running as of 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, and all regularly scheduled programs will resume that day.

New fall programs are set to begin and registration is available now. Many programs begin next week. Register by phone, in person or via the internet at www.recreationkelowna.com

The Fall Program Guide is available on the City’s website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca, or drop by the PRC at 1800 Parkinson Way to pick up a copy.

Registration for aquatic programs begins Saturday September 6th, however the Parkinson pool will not be operational until September 22nd. A mechanical problem has necessitated closure of the pool until repairs can be made.

 

Public Asked to Stay Away from Fire Impacted Areas September 2 - 2:25 pm
Firefighters continue to work extinguishing fires and hot spots. To do so, they require easy access to all roads in fire-impacted areas. The Kelowna Fire Department, RCMP, Armed Forces and BC Forest Service fire fighters request that the public stay away to facilitate fire fighting efforts. Everyone is reminded that penalties up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment may be imposed for interfering with fire control or suppression operations.

Areas of greatest concern are Chute Lake Road, June Springs Road and South Lakeshore Road. The RCMP will set setting up road blocks and redirecting traffic in these areas.

The public is also reminded to stay out of fire-impacted Crown land and open space private property. Joggers, bikers, hikers and walkers should not be in these areas at any time. Danger trees pose a significant threat to public safety. These trees may look fine but their root structures and trunks could be burned through rendering them extremely unstable and susceptible to falling at a moment’s notice. 
Full EOC Press Release

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September 3 Continuous Coverage


Tonight's fire flare up above June Springs and Gallaghers Canyon was reported to be moving in an easterly direction.  Officials hope that cooler temperatures will result in calmer fire activity overnight.  Road blocks are in place at entrances into the newly evacuated areas tonight.  September 3 - 11:09 pm

Sixty City fire fighters are out tonight mopping up fires.  Forestry says we should be prepared for more fire activity tomorrow.  September 3 - 10:41 pm

Idabel Lake is not included in the evacuation order. September 3 - 10:37 pm

The Kelowna Riding Club at 3745 Gordon Drive is accepting horses from the evacuated areas tonight. They ask that those who bring horses to supply water buckets and hay if possible.  There will be no caretaker to take charge as before so all those who board will be asked to take charge of their animals themselves. September 3 - 10:01 pm

The call centre for information related to the Okanagan Mountain Park Forest Fire will be available until 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Anyone needing information on evacuation procedures should call: 869-0386 September 3 - 9:42 pm

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now closed for regular programming and is functioning once again as a Reception Centre for evacuees. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible.
September 3 - 9:42 pm

The Emergency Operations Center has released a new map of the new Evacuation Order, and Evacuation Alert area as of 8:15 pm this evening.  (
PDF 1MB) September 3 - 9:42 pm

Traffic reported to be moving smoothly out of evacuation areas now.  However, there are reports of looky-loos driving erratically and causing congestion at local view points.  September 3 - 9:39 pm

The flames spotted this evening again were rated category 6 - the highest flame rating level.  Trees reported to be candling.  September 3 - 9:14 pm

The Parkinson Recreation Centre now has enough volunteers for this evening. September 3 - 9:14 pm

A list of streets affected by the new Evacuation Order is now available.  Link. September 3 - 8:44 pm

RCMP are going door to door in the stage 7 area AND THE JOE RICH area asking residents to leave immediately and to register at the Parkinson Recreation Center due to an increase in fire activity .  These areas are now under Evacuation Order.

Stage 7 - Map Close-up (PDF 162K
Stage 7 - Map Wide (
PDF 411K

No homes are immediately in danger.  Approximately 3,200 residents (1,000 homes) are affected by this new Evacuation Order area.  The order was issued at approximately 7:30 pm this evening.  September 3 - 8:42 pm

Flames are again visible from June Springs Road area.  Fire is reported moving eastward.   September 3 - 8:00 pm

The Thermoguys have provided two new close pictures of the fire from today and tonight.  AM (PDF 429K) PM (PDF 387K)  September 3 - 7:53 pm

Kurt Hughs, Ministry of Forestry Information officer, confirms there is more activity in the fire tonight.  More water support has been requested.  Winds are currently light - blowing from the south (towards Kelowna).  September 3 - 6:20 pm

The Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre at 520 Bernard Avenue is offering extended hours to help those impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. As of Thursday September 4th the Centre will be open between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. (The Centre had previously announced hours of operation between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.)  Full EOC Press Release September 3 - 6:20 pm

The City has announced a special garbage pickup on Friday for fire affected areas.  Read the full press release here.   September 3 - 5:21 pm

The Premier is again urging British Columbians to conserve water.  Press release.  September 3 - 4:48 pm

Click for a map of the new Evacuation Alert, Evacuation Order, and fire edge map as of September 3, 9:38 am. (PDF 1MB) September 3 - 4:21 pm

The PEP website has a document (PDF) that lists all central interior active evacuation orders and alerts as of September 3.  They also have a map showing all active fires currently in BC (GIF).  September 3, 1:51 pm

AWIS has released new thermal maps just for  Okanagan Mountain Park from this morning.   (JPG 1MB)  (PDF 2.1MB) Vaseux Lake's latest from the 1st are here  (JPG 970K) (PDF 2.6MB)   More   Click here for our new live fire web cam mounted at Landmark Square. September 3, 1:51 pm

Kelowna Home Builders say they have the capacity to rebuild homes lost in the fire.  Press release.

Willow Park Church is inviting the community to join at Skyreach Place Sunday to celebrate the city and its volunteers. The service will be a time of thanksgiving, hope, comfort, and celebration. Skyreach Place doors open at 9:30am, with the service starting at 10am, and running until 11:30am. A BBQ lunch will be available after by donation. This event is a gift to our city; no offering will be taken, although there will be an opportunity to give to the fire relief fund. September 3, 10:26 am

Due to lack of timber due to forest fires, Gorman Brothers has had to lay off 50 workers.  September 3, 8:10 am

We continue to update our photo gallery daily.  September 3, 7:57 am

The Premier is now estimating fire fighting costs this season to be $400 million.
September 3, 7:32 am

100 navy from Esquimalt
expected to arrive today to fight the fires.  They are expected to stay a month. 
September 3, 7:03 am

Barnaby Road, South Ridge, Summerhills, Kildeer and Frost Roads residents are invited to attend a get together to share experiences over the last couple of weeks, have a laugh or a few tears and celebrate the strength of their community. Where: The Quarry on Barnaby Road, Saturday September  6, 2003, 10 am to noon.  Please bring your own cups and chairs and enjoy coffee, juice and donuts compliments of The Quarry.  Call Nancy Potter at 764-4044 or Kathe Mackenzie at 317-1005 for more information.  September 3, 6:52 am

100 more military from Cold Lake flew in yesterday to join the fire fight yesterday.  September 2, 10:05 pm

Thermoguy.com has release more thermo pictures from Monday night.  See also their websiteSeptember 2, 9:29 pm

Fire victims that have had their house destroyed or damaged by fire or water may come to the Adventist Disaster Relief Warehouse at 2300 Leckie Road.  They can supply you with what they have on hand including new products that have been delivered by retail and wholesale companies, beds, beddings, furniture, food, and clothes. Please bring your EFF # with you.  September 2, 4:24 pm

Click here for our new fire web cam mounted at Landmark Square.  September 2, 2:43 pm

Residents of Crawford Estates are invited to join their neighbors for a chance to relax, reflect, reconnect, re-energize, rejuvenate, rebound, and rebuild their  community.  When: Sunday, September 7th Where: Redridge Park Time: 3:00 pm.  See our events page for more or contact Nicki or Briana Hokazono @ 764-7744 or [email protected]  September 2 - 9:01 am

Apex Audio Visual is offering free video taping for residents who have lost their homes, and/or have serious damage to their property for insurance purposes. Taping is done with a Digital Video Camera and Still Digital Images which can then be transferred to CD, DVD or VHS or even print.  Contact Gord Gibbs - Apex Audio Visual  1917 Dayton Rd Kelowna 250-861-6500 September 2 - 6:15 pm

DT's "Time to Believe", CD can now be purchased online for $9.95.  Proceeds go to the Fire Relief Fund. September 1, 1:00 pm 

Pictures of the Kelowna volunteer fire fighters t-shirt  that are for sale at Costco on weekends are now available.  Front.  Front close up.  Back.  Back close up.  September 1, 12:37 pm

A resident of a a fire affected areas has issued this plea to Looky Loos to stop touring the affected areas.  September 1, 9:30am

The Canadian Home Builders Association of Kelowna offers a helpful link to help select a builder and hire a contractor:   http://www.hiringacontractor.com Full Press Release.  August 31 - 8:11 am

Terasen has released an Information Advisory to those without gas service. Check out their website for a schedule of when gas service will be restored.   August 30 - 9:28 am

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Tuesday September 2

Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre Established  September 2 - 6:22 pm
Kelowna residents in need of assistance as a result of the recent Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire now have a central place to access recovery information. As of Wednesday September 3rd all recovery matters will be handled from 520 Bernard Avenue. RBC Royal Bank has generously provided the City of Kelowna with this office space in their former downtown branch.

Several telephone lines are being installed to answer residents’ queries:
• 869-0386 Recovery Centre Office
• 868-2632 Public Information Line
• 868-2605 Recovery Social Services and Housing

Services in the Okanagan Fire Recovery Centre will include:
• Damage assessment
• Agency referral
• Demolition permit information
• Building permit information
• Sewer connection and septic tank permit information

“It is essential we have a central place for displaced residents to determine what their next steps will be, as they begin to recover from this devastating fire,” says David Shipclark, Manager Community Development & Real Estate, City of Kelowna. “We will be providing access to fundamental resources needed at this difficult time.”

“We hope this contribution of office space will make a difference in the lives of individuals and families affected by the severe forest fires,” said Bruce Jones, RBC Royal Bank’s Regional Vice-President, B.C. Interior & North. “We are truly concerned and want to do what we can to help."

The Recovery Centre will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

In addition the newly formed Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund, established by the City of Kelowna, will be based in these premises. The fund will be administered by a committee chaired by Kelowna lawyer David Rush.

The Parkinson Recreation Centre is no longer acting as a Reception Centre for evacuees. All Emergency Social Services queries should be directed to the Recovery Centre at 868-2605. 
Full EOC Press Release
 

Parkinson Recreation Centre is Open For Fitness & Leisure September 2 - 6:22 pm
The Parkinson Recreation Centre is now back in business! The weight room, gymnasium and fitness programs will be up and running as of 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, and all regularly scheduled programs will resume that day.

New fall programs are set to begin and registration is available now. Many programs begin next week. Register by phone, in person or via the internet at www.recreationkelowna.com

The Fall Program Guide is available on the City’s website, www.city.kelowna.bc.ca, or drop by the PRC at 1800 Parkinson Way to pick up a copy.

Registration for aquatic programs begins Saturday September 6th, however the Parkinson pool will not be operational until September 22nd. A mechanical problem has necessitated closure of the pool until repairs can be made.

 

Day Re-entry for June Springs Residents September 2 - 2:25 pm
Residents who live outside the City’s eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road will be permitted to return to return to their homes today until 6 p.m. Proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks. The approximate 70 residents of this area remain on Evacuation Order due to the threat of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. Emergency Social Services will re-new referrals for these evacuees until September 5th, but they must re-register at the Parkinson Recreation Centre before 4:00 p.m. today. 
Full EOC Press Release

Public Asked to Stay Away from Fire Impacted Areas September 2 - 2:25 pm
Firefighters continue to work extinguishing fires and hot spots. To do so, they require easy access to all roads in fire-impacted areas. The Kelowna Fire Department, RCMP, Armed Forces and BC Forest Service fire fighters request that the public stay away to facilitate fire fighting efforts. Everyone is reminded that penalties up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment may be imposed for interfering with fire control or suppression operations.

Areas of greatest concern are Chute Lake Road, June Springs Road and South Lakeshore Road. The RCMP will set setting up road blocks and redirecting traffic in these areas.

The public is also reminded to stay out of fire-impacted Crown land and open space private property. Joggers, bikers, hikers and walkers should not be in these areas at any time. Danger trees pose a significant threat to public safety. These trees may look fine but their root structures and trunks could be burned through rendering them extremely unstable and susceptible to falling at a moment’s notice. 
Full EOC Press Release

 

Fire Spreads Due to Increasing Winds September 2 - 11:11 am

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,900 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 686 fire-fighters, 18 helicopters and 176 pieces of heavy equipment.  Extensive air support was provided to the crews yesterday by a Martin Mars air tanker as well as a number of CL-415s.    

The fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained.  Control lines in the south, southeast, north and northeast sectors continue to hold, and crews continue to reinforce these lines and mop up in these areas.  Mop up and patrol operations are continuing in the residential areas.

The fire spread in the last few days has been  a result of an increase in the winds.  These winds have been from the west and northwest, so the fire has moved in an east and southeast direction away from Kelowna.

The fire is four to five kilometers away from the Myra Canyon Kettle Valley Railroad trestles and is not moving any closer in that direction.  Forecasted winds from the north, together with the ground conditions are predicted to keep the fire from burning toward Myra Canyon.

The steel trestle in Bellevue Canyon remains a concern, the fire is burning the ridges above and parallel to the main canyon at this time.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation.  Winds are expected to be from the north at 15 kilometers per hour.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares in size.  Resources include 610 fire fighters, of which 200 are military personnel, six helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

This fire is now estimated to be 40 per cent contained.  Yesterday was a good day on all sectors.  The Dutton Creek Canyon area still presents a problem for reinforcing the control line due to large amount of dry fuels on the ground and steep terrain and canyon walls. 

A burn off operation from Vaseux Creek to reinforce the southeast corner was completed successfully.

High temperatures, low humidity and the predicted winds may produce extreme fire behavior later this afternoon. Full new release.

 

Tuesday Weather and Air Quality  September 2 - 6:05 am

Today: Sunny. Local smoke. Wind becoming north 15 km/h late this afternoon. High 31. UV index 5 or moderate.  Tonight: Clear. Local smoke. Wind north 15 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 12.   Wednesday: Sunny. Local smoke. High 32.  Air quality: Today 56 (poor).  Wednesday 58 (poor).
 

Boaters - Please Make Way For Aircraft September 1 - 5:00 pm

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The B.C. Forest Service is requesting the cooperation of the public, particularly boaters and pleasure craft operators, in avoiding all Lake Okanagan fire fighting operations.

Aircraft operations which involve ‘water scooping’ have been requested for later this afternoon and it is critical that boaters remain clear of the area.  In general, boaters are reminded to:

  • Stay alert as aircraft could be utilizing the water surface at any given time.

  • Stay close to the shoreline and clear of the center of the lake.

  • Do not interfere with helicopter operations or fixed-wing aircraft flight paths.

  • Do not approach any aircraft until engines have stopped, propellers are not moving and the aircraft is anchored.

Public cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated and ensures the safety of all involved.  Full new release.

Winds Expected to Increase September 1 - 10:25 am
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,400 hectares in size. Resources in place include 633 fire-fighters, 17 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. 

The fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained.  The wind speeds have increased over the last three days, with yesterdays high elevation winds the fire spread further on the north side of Bellevue Creek.  This fire spread has brought the front line closer to the metal trestle. Fire officials continue to reassess the fire behavior and identify alternatives to contain the spread in the Bellevue Creek area and to protect the trestle there.

Crews are continuing control line construction in the east sector of the fire.  Burn off operations will be used to reinforce the control lines as weather and ground conditions allow.  All control line construction is being supported by equipment and aircraft.

Personnel trained in the assessment and removal of ‘danger trees’ are working in the high use residential areas, as crews continue to reinforce control lines, mop up and patrol in the areas close to homes.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation.  Winds are expected to be variable north to northwest at 15 kilometers per hour with occasional gusts to 24 kilometers per hour.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 610 fire fighters, of which 200 are military personnel, six helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

Crews continue to make good progress in most sectors of the fire.  The steep terrain on the south flank continues to pose challenges to the fire fighters, and the fire has moved slowly down the slope towards Vaseux Creek. 

Mop up activities along the northeast side of the fire remain a priority.  Control lines are not tight to the fire front and dry fuels that have not yet burnt remain within many hot spot areas.   Full new release.

 

Public Asked to Stay Away from Fire Impacted Areas September 1 - 9:13 am
Firefighters continue to work extinguishing fires and making areas safe. To do so, they require easy access to roads. The Kelowna Fire Department, RCMP and Military and BC Forest Service firefighters request the public to stay away from the fire impacted areas. Everyone is reminded that penalties up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment may be imposed for interfering with fire control or suppression operations.

Areas of greatest concern are Chute Lake Road, June Springs Road and South Lakeshore Road. The RCMP will set setting up road blocks and redirecting traffic in these areas. 
Full EOC Press Release

Public Reminded to Stay Out of Active Fire Fighting Areas August 31 - 3:57 pm
Advisory from the Ministry of Forests - The safety of our fire fighters and the public is our first priority.  This advisory is a reminder for the residents of Kelowna to cooperate with our crews and avoid those areas were there is active fire fighting operations going on. This is for your own safety. For those residents that have been allowed to return to their homes, ensure that when you are out walking, jogging or going for a drive that you do not cross into an area where fire crews are working or staging.


There has been some instances noted where members of the public were in areas of active falling or bucketing. These areas are still dangerous and fire behavior can be unpredictable depending on the weather and winds; crews need to be able to focus on their efforts on fighting the fire.  Press Release.
 

T Shirt and Hat Sales August 31 - 11:41 am
The Kelowna Volunteer Fire Fighters are selling Okanagan Mountain Park Fire T shirts to raise money for the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund.  The navy T shirts are $15 each and may be purchased from Costco on Highway 97 on week-ends only. 
Click for pictures of the t-shirt.  Front.  Front close up.  Back.  Back close up. 

The trust fund monies will be used to rebuild lives and areas that were directly impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

Gray ball caps commemorating the efforts of the Kelowna Fire Department and the RCMP can be ordered from the RCMP detachment office at 350 Doyle Avenue until 4:00 p.m. Sunday and Monday over the long week-end, and until 8:00 p.m. during the week. The caps cost $20 and funds will go toward assisting RCMP and ambulance personnel who have lost their homes. Any excess will go toward the “Cops for Kids Foundation”

Black Firestorm T shirts are also available at the RCMP detachment. Proceeds from T shirt sales will be put toward local charities.  Press release.
 

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September 2 Continuous Coverage


100 more military from Cold Lake flew in yesterday to join the fire fight yesterday.  September 2 10:05 pm

The thermo guy has release more thermos from last night.  See also their websiteSeptember 2, 9:29 pm

Fire victims that have had their house destroyed or damaged by fire or water may come to the Adventist Disaster Relief Warehouse at 2300 Leckie Road.  They can supply you with what they have on hand including new products that have been delivered by retail and wholesale companies, beds, beddings, furniture, food, and clothes. Please bring your EFF # with you.  September 2, 4:24 pm

Click here for our new fire web cam mounted at Landmark Square.  September 2, 2:43 pm

AWIS has released thermal maps of the fire from early this morning. Okanagan Mountain Park (JPG 1MB)  (PDF 2.8MB) Vaseux Lake (JPG 970K) (PDF 2.6MB)   More September 2, 11:21 am

Residents of Crawford Estates are invited to join their neighbors for a chance to relax, reflect, reconnect, re-energize, rejuvenate, rebound, and rebuild their  community.  When: Sunday, September 7th Where: Redridge Park Time: 3:00 pm.  See our events page for more or contact Nicki or Briana Hokazono @ 764-7744 or [email protected]  September 2 - 9:01 am

Aquila Networks Canada says power will be shut off for 2,000 homes in fire affected areas from 10 am to noon today so that equipment bringing power into fire effected neighbourhoods can be replaced.  September 2 - 6:32 am

School is back in!  Remember to slow down for school zones.  Information on School openings and closures including the revised Okanagan Mission Secondary bus schedule can be found by clicking here September 2 - 6:25 pm

Apex Audio Visual is offering free video taping for residents who have lost their homes, and/or have serious damage to their property for insurance purposes. Taping is done with a Digital Video Camera and Still Digital Images which can then be transferred to CD, DVD or VHS or even print.  Contact Gord Gibbs - Apex Audio Visual  1917 Dayton Rd Kelowna 250-861-6500 September 2 - 6:15 pm

Thanks to the Ministry of Forests,  we now have pictures from the air Monday morning showing how far away the fire is from the Kettle Valley Trestles.  Hopefully, these will help easy everyone's concerns about the state of the trestles.  Some other photos submitted to us today have also been include dinthis mini gallery.  September 1 - 4:57 pm

DT's "Time to Believe", CD can now be purchased online for $9.95.  Proceeds go to the Fire Relief Fund. September 1, 1:00 pm 

Pictures of the Kelowna volunteer fire fighters t-shirt  that are for sale at Costco on weekends are now available.  Front.  Front close up.  Back.  Back close up.  September 1, 12:37 pm

A resident of a a fire affected areas has issued this plea to Looky Loos to stop touring the affected areas.  September 1, 9:30am

The Thermo Guy has released several thermo images of Sunday's fires from 8:06 pm to 1:06 am. (PDF 317K). September 1, 7:09am

Fire affected streets will receive unlimited garbage pickup on Monday Sept. 1st and Friday Sept.  5th.  Do not put hazardous waste in the garbage.  Refreeze fouled foods and place out shortly before pickup.  Regular garbage collection regulations apply.  Recycling schedule remains unchanged.  Landfill fees will be waived for those on fire affected streets Sunday and Monday.  There will also be unlimited yard waste collection for affect streets on September 12th.   Click for more details. September 1 - 7:08 am

The Canadian Home Builders Association of Kelowna offers a helpful link to help select a builder and hire a contractor:   http://www.hiringacontractor.com Full Press Release.  August 31 - 8:11 am

 

The Red Cross is also seeking additional volunteer support to assist with its office and staffing bureau operations in Kelowna, as resources are becoming stretched. People with strong administrative or managerial skills who have time to commit to assisting the Red Cross manage its disaster response and community recovery operations should call the Kelowna office at 763-1859. August 30 - 10:00 am

 

Terasen has released an Information Advisory to those without gas service. Check out their website for a schedule of when gas service will be restored.   August 30 - 9:28 am

 

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Monday September 1

Boaters - Please Make Way For Aircraft September 1 - 5:00 pm

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – The B.C. Forest Service is requesting the cooperation of the public, particularly boaters and pleasure craft operators, in avoiding all Lake Okanagan fire fighting operations.

Aircraft operations which involve ‘water scooping’ have been requested for later this afternoon and it is critical that boaters remain clear of the area.  In general, boaters are reminded to:

  • Stay alert as aircraft could be utilizing the water surface at any given time.

  • Stay close to the shoreline and clear of the center of the lake.

  • Do not interfere with helicopter operations or fixed-wing aircraft flight paths.

  • Do not approach any aircraft until engines have stopped, propellers are not moving and the aircraft is anchored.

Public cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated and ensures the safety of all involved.  Full new release.

Extreme Fire Behavior Warning September 1 - 11:30 am

MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE – North winds of 20 kilometres per hour with stronger gusts up to 25 kilometres per hour, are predicted for this afternoon and evening.

As a result of the winds, unstable atmospheric conditions, and extremely dry forest conditions an extreme fire behaviour warning, extending from 1300 hours until midnight, has been issued to all fire crews working along the entire eastern flank, from Chute Lake Staging to Rick’s Staging.  For the rest of the fire perimeter, a fire behaviour advisory has been put into effect from 1300 to midnight.

Due to the expected increase in winds, a significant increase in fire activity is expected.  This spread would likely expand in an easterly direction, away from the Kelowna area.  These winds will likely produce open flame in the tree tops and heavy smoke conditions on the eastern sector of the fire. Full new release.

 

Winds Expected to Increase September 1 - 10:25 am
MINISTRY OF FORESTS PRESS RELEASE
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,400 hectares in size. Resources in place include 633 fire-fighters, 17 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. 

The fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained.  The wind speeds have increased over the last three days, with yesterdays high elevation winds the fire spread further on the north side of Bellevue Creek.  This fire spread has brought the front line closer to the metal trestle. Fire officials continue to reassess the fire behavior and identify alternatives to contain the spread in the Bellevue Creek area and to protect the trestle there.

Crews are continuing control line construction in the east sector of the fire.  Burn off operations will be used to reinforce the control lines as weather and ground conditions allow.  All control line construction is being supported by equipment and aircraft.

Personnel trained in the assessment and removal of ‘danger trees’ are working in the high use residential areas, as crews continue to reinforce control lines, mop up and patrol in the areas close to homes.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation.  Winds are expected to be variable north to northwest at 15 kilometers per hour with occasional gusts to 24 kilometers per hour.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 610 fire fighters, of which 200 are military personnel, six helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

Crews continue to make good progress in most sectors of the fire.  The steep terrain on the south flank continues to pose challenges to the fire fighters, and the fire has moved slowly down the slope towards Vaseux Creek. 

Mop up activities along the northeast side of the fire remain a priority.  Control lines are not tight to the fire front and dry fuels that have not yet burnt remain within many hot spot areas.   Full new release.

 

Fire Posed No Threat to City of Kelowna Overnight September 1 - 9:13 am
Although the Okanagan Park Fire grew more than 130 hectares to the east overnight, it did not pose a threat to the City of Kelowna. Firefighting crews continue to battle the blaze well away from the City. 
Full EOC Press Release

Public Asked to Stay Away from Fire Impacted Areas September 1 - 9:13 am
Firefighters continue to work extinguishing fires and making areas safe. To do so, they require easy access to roads. The Kelowna Fire Department, RCMP and Military and BC Forest Service firefighters request the public to stay away from the fire impacted areas. Everyone is reminded that penalties up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment may be imposed for interfering with fire control or suppression operations.

Areas of greatest concern are Chute Lake Road, June Springs Road and South Lakeshore Road. The RCMP will set setting up road blocks and redirecting traffic in these areas. 
Full EOC Press Release

Day Re-entry for June Spring's Residents September 1 - 9:13 am
The residents who live outside the City's eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road will be permitted to return to return to their homes today between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks. The approximate 70 residents of this area remain on Evacuation Order. 
Full EOC Press Release

Fire Overnight Recap September 1 - 8:00 am
The wildfire threat has not gone away as evidenced by a number of spot fires in the Kelowna area overnight. There was one fire in Crawford Estates Sunday afternoon that was quickly attacked by helicopters with water buckets. A number of other fires were burning high in the hills above Gallagher's Canyon and June Springs Road last night. Officials say crews are monitoring the spot fires twenty four hours a day. The active part of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is moving east away from Kelowna and control lines are being built near the Kettle Valley Rail trestles to try and protect them. The fire hasn't really grown much over the weekend and is 70 per cent contained.

Crawford Estates Spot Fire September 1 - 7:00 am
Crews quickly doused a spot fire that started Sunday afternoon in Crawford Estates. Officials say smoldering bark mulch ignited a nearby pine tree. Helicopters dumped three buckets of water on the fire and snuffed it out quickly. Crews are monitoring the active part of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, which they say is far up in the hills near the Kettle Valley Rail line. They are reinforcing control lines in the area trying to make sure the metal and wood trestles will be ok. A number of Gallaghers Canyon and Rutland residents reported seeing increased fire activity overnight. The fire department believes the fire is too far away to pose any danger. But they are watching the fire closely because it is only 70 per cent contained. 
Full EOC Press Release
 

Stay Out of Affected  Areas or Face $5,000 Fines September 1 - 6:48 am
RCMP Press Release - Since the fires began, RCMP and other Emergency services have pleaded with local citizens to stay out of fire affected areas unless they have  legitimate business to be there.  On Sunday afternoon the traffic became so congested on Lakeshore Rd that it became very difficult for the Military crews to respond to the numerous spot fires that they are trying to extinguish.

The Forest Practice Code provides penalties up to $5,000.00 and/or 6 months imprisonment or both for anyone interfering with fire control or suppression operations. Please avoid these fire affected areas and allow the Emergency Services to continue with their fire fighting duties.

Chute Lake Rd, June Springs Rd, the lower end of Lakeshore Rd. / Gillard Creek Forest Service Rd., and Chute Lake Rd past Kettle Valley are remain closed to everything but emergency vehicles, and/or other vehicles involved in fire fighting duties
 

Fire Activity Last Night - No Cause for Concern September 1 - 6:38 am
The Kelowna Fire Department says there is no cause for concern with the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. Crews have been monitoring the active part of the fire which is way up in the hills and not moving back down toward the city. There have been a number of reports of increased activity overnight from residents in Gallaghers Canyon and Rutland. Officials say crews are working to protect the metal trestle in the Bellvue Creek area by reinforcing control lines. They are also looking at ways to protect the wooden trestles on the Kettle Valley rail line. The fire remains at just over 20 thousand hectares in size and is 70 per cent contained
 

Monday Weather / Air Quality Forecast September 1 - 5:00 am
As of 5 am.  Today: Sunny. Local smoke. Wind north 15 km/h this afternoon. High 29. UV index 5 or moderate.  Tonight: Clear. Local smoke dissipating near midnight. Wind north 15 km/h becoming light in the evening. Low 6.  Tuesday:  Sunny. Local smoke. High 31. Monday air quality forecast  - 56 (Poor).  Tuesday air quality forecast  - 58 (Poor). 

 

Public Reminded to Stay Out of Active Fire Fighting Areas August 31 - 3:57 pm
Advisory from the Ministry of Forests - The safety of our fire fighters and the public is our first priority.  This advisory is a reminder for the residents of Kelowna to cooperate with our crews and avoid those areas were there is active fire fighting operations going on. This is for your own safety. For those residents that have been allowed to return to their homes, ensure that when you are out walking, jogging or going for a drive that you do not cross into an area where fire crews are working or staging.


There has been some instances noted where members of the public were in areas of active falling or bucketing. These areas are still dangerous and fire behavior can be unpredictable depending on the weather and winds; crews need to be able to focus on their efforts on fighting the fire.  Press Release.
 

Active Fire behavior Expected Sunday Afternoon August 31 - 12:41 pm

Advisory from the Ministry of Forests - Predicted winds of up to 20 km. per hour from the west are expected to produce active fire behaviour this afternoon in the upper elevations of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. 

As a result, an extreme fire behaviour warning, extending from 1300 hours until sunset, has been issued to all fire crews working this fire. Due to the expected increase in winds, a fire spread potential exists.  This spread would likely expand in an easterly direction, away from the Kelowna area.  These winds will likely produce heavy smoke conditions on the eastern sector of the fire.  Press Release.

 

T Shirt and Hat Sales August 31 - 11:41 am
The Kelowna Volunteer Fire Fighters are selling Okanagan Mountain Park Fire T shirts to raise money for the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund.  The navy T shirts are $15 each and may be purchased from Costco on Highway 97 on week-ends only. 
Click for pictures of the t-shirt.  Front.  Front close up.  Back.  Back close up. 

The trust fund monies will be used to rebuild lives and areas that were directly impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

Gray ball caps commemorating the efforts of the Kelowna Fire Department and the RCMP can be ordered from the RCMP detachment office at 350 Doyle Avenue until 4:00 p.m. Sunday and Monday over the long week-end, and until 8:00 p.m. during the week. The caps cost $20 and funds will go toward assisting RCMP and ambulance personnel who have lost their homes. Any excess will go toward the “Cops for Kids Foundation”

Black Firestorm T shirts are also available at the RCMP detachment. Proceeds from T shirt sales will be put toward local charities.  Press release.

Garbage Pickup August 31 - 10:48 am
Garbage will be picked up on Monday September 1st and Friday September 5th in all fire-affected areas. Monday pick-up begins at 10:00 a.m., Friday pick-up begins at 7:00 a.m. and will include large items such as carpets and furniture. No bag limit will be in place on these days.

A special yard waste pick-up in these areas will take place on Friday September 12th. Residents are reminded yard waste needs to be bagged or bundled, and branches should be no longer than one metre (one yard) and no more than 20 centimetre in diameter (8 inches).

A special fridge and freezer pick-up will be announced shortly.
Click here for more details from the CORD website.

Caution Urged in Re-entry Areas August 31 - 10:48 am
Residents are reminded to be cautious when returning home. Firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots and utility companies are working to restore service to all areas as quickly as possible. Many hazards exist in fire-affected areas such as dangerous trees, ash pits and compromised structures. Parents are asked to explain these hazards to their children and to keep a careful watch at all times.

Warning: If residents do not have electricity and wish to set up independent generators, permission must be granted by Aquila beforehand. Call 1-877-717-5334 or 310-9473 for more information.  
Full EOC Press Release
 

Fire Victims - Contact Red Cross (August 30 - 10:00 am)

The Canadian Red Cross is asking those who have needs as a result of the fires in the Okanagan area to contact the local Red Cross office to set up a meeting to discuss assistance.   While some individuals who will require assistance have already identified themselves to the Red Cross, it is believed most have not.

 

The Red Cross BC Forest Fire Response Fund is ready to help victims meet their basic, unmet needs in these difficult times after provincial Emergency Social Services support ends for those who were evacuated.  Fire-affected families can call the Red Cross in Kelowna at (250) 763-1859.

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September 1 Continuous Coverage


Thanks to the Ministry of Forests,  we now have pictures from the air this morning showing how far away the fire is from the Kettle Valley Trestles.  Hopefully, these will help easy everyone's concerns about the state of the trestles.  Some other photos submitted to us today have also been include dinthis mini gallery.  September 1 - 4:57 pm

From 3:00pm to 11:00pm today the Kelowna curling Club will be hosting the Labour Day Hose Down Benefit Concert featuring: Glockwork Orange, Viscious Fishes, Dogskin Suit, Ricky and the Blue Cats, Youngun, Flying Takameenies, and more.   $5 donation to the Red Cross Fire Relief fund; all food and beverage (no alcohol) sales also to go the relief fund. This is an all ages show, so please bring your kids. There will also be tonnes of door prizes.  September 1 - 2:32pm

DT's "Time to Believe", CD can now be purchased online for $9.95.  Proceeds go to the Fire Relief Fund. September 1, 1:00 pm 

Pictures of the Kelowna volunteer fire fighters t-shirt  that are for sale at Costco on weekends are now available.  Front.  Front close up.  Back.  Back close up.  September 1, 12:37 pm

A resident of a a fire affected areas has issued this plea to Looky Loos to stop touring the affected areas.  September 1, 9:30am

AWIS has released new thermal maps of the fire. Okanagan Mountain Park (JPG 1MB)  (PDF 2.7MB) Vaseux Lake (JPG 966K) (PDF 2.7MB)   More September 1, 9:16am

The Thermo Guy has released several thermo images of last night's fires from 8:06 pm to 1:06 am. (PDF 317K). September 1, 7:09am

Fire affected streets will receive unlimited garbage pickup on Monday Sept. 1st and Friday Sept.  5th.  Do not put hazardous waste in the garbage.  Refreeze fouled foods and place out shortly before pickup.  Regular garbage collection regulations apply.  Recycling schedule remains unchanged.  Landfill fees will be waived for those on fire affected streets Sunday and Monday.  There will also be unlimited yard waste collection for affect streets on September 12th.   Click for more details. September 1 - 7:08 am

Information on School openings and closures including the revised Okanagan Mission Secondary bus schedule can be found by clicking hereAugust 31 - 8:15 pm

The Canadian Home Builders Association of Kelowna offers a helpful link to help select a builder and hire a contractor:   http://www.hiringacontractor.com Full Press Release.  August 31 - 8:11 am

 

The Red Cross is also seeking additional volunteer support to assist with its office and staffing bureau operations in Kelowna, as resources are becoming stretched. People with strong administrative or managerial skills who have time to commit to assisting the Red Cross manage its disaster response and community recovery operations should call the Kelowna office at 763-1859. August 30 - 10:00 am

 

Terasen has released an Information Advisory to those without gas service. Check out their website for a schedule of when gas service will be restored.   August 30 - 9:28 am

 

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Sunday August 31

Public Reminded to Stay Our of Active Fire Fighting Areas August 31 - 3:57 pm
Advisory from the Ministry of Forests - The safety of our fire fighters and the public is our first priority.  This advisory is a reminder for the residents of Kelowna to cooperate with our crews and avoid those areas were there is active fire fighting operations going on. This is for your own safety. For those residents that have been allowed to return to their homes, ensure that when you are out walking, jogging or going for a drive that you do not cross into an area where fire crews are working or staging.


There has been some instances noted where members of the public were in areas of active falling or bucketing. These areas are still dangerous and fire behavior can be unpredictable depending on the weather and winds; crews need to be able to focus on their efforts on fighting the fire.  Press Release.
 

Active Fire behavior Expected This Afternoon August 31 - 12:41 pm

Advisory from the Ministry of Forests - Predicted winds of up to 20 km. per hour from the west are expected to produce active fire behaviour this afternoon in the upper elevations of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. 

As a result, an extreme fire behaviour warning, extending from 1300 hours until sunset, has been issued to all fire crews working this fire. Due to the expected increase in winds, a fire spread potential exists.  This spread would likely expand in an easterly direction, away from the Kelowna area.  These winds will likely produce heavy smoke conditions on the eastern sector of the fire.  Press Release.

 

T Shirt and Hat Sales August 31 - 11:41 am
The Kelowna Volunteer Fire Fighters are selling Okanagan Mountain Park Fire T shirts to raise money for the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund.  The navy T shirts are $15 each and may be purchased from Costco on Highway 97 on week-ends only.

The trust fund monies will be used to rebuild lives and areas that were directly impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

Gray ball caps commemorating the efforts of the Kelowna Fire Department and the RCMP can be ordered from the RCMP detachment office at 350 Doyle Avenue until 4:00 p.m. Sunday and Monday over the long week-end, and until 8:00 p.m. during the week. The caps cost $20 and funds will go toward assisting RCMP and ambulance personnel who have lost their homes. Any excess will go toward the “Cops for Kids Foundation”

Black Firestorm T shirts are also available at the RCMP detachment. Proceeds from T shirt sales will be put toward local charities.  Press release.
 

Day Access Available to June Springs Road Area August 31 - 10:48 am
The residents who remain on Evacuation Order, those who live outside the City’s eastern boundary at the south end of June Springs Road, will be permitted to return to their homes today between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The approximate 70 people will be required to provide proof of residency at the RCMP road checks.  Click here for a
list of streets.

The public is asked to stay away from this area southwest of Gallagher’s Canyon, as well as the other fire-impacted areas, to permit easy access for fire fighting vehicles and crews.

Garbage Pickup
Garbage will be picked up on Monday September 1st and Friday September 5th in all fire-affected areas. Monday pick-up begins at 10:00 a.m., Friday pick-up begins at 7:00 a.m. and will include large items such as carpets and furniture. No bag limit will be in place on these days.

A special yard waste pick-up in these areas will take place on Friday September 12th. Residents are reminded yard waste needs to be bagged or bundled, and branches should be no longer than one metre (one yard) and no more than 20 centimetre in diameter (8 inches).

A special fridge and freezer pick-up will be announced shortly.
Click here for more details from the CORD website.

Caution Urged
Residents are reminded to be cautious when returning home. Firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots and utility companies are working to restore service to all areas as quickly as possible. Many hazards exist in fire-affected areas such as dangerous trees, ash pits and compromised structures. Parents are asked to explain these hazards to their children and to keep a careful watch at all times.

Warning: If residents do not have electricity and wish to set up independent generators, permission must be granted by Aquila beforehand. Call 1-877-717-5334 or 310-9473 for more information.  
Full EOC Press Release
 

Progress on fires continues to be made August 31 - 10:31 am

The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 640 fire-fighters, of which 310 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 237 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70 per cent contained.  Crews were able to make good progress again yesterday, due to a lack of significant winds.

Burn off operations were conducted successfully yesterday afternoon to reinforce control lines on the east flank, in the Bellvue Creek area.  Crews continue to work to protect the metal trestle in this area, and to look at alternatives to keep the fire away from the wooden trestles.

Control line establishment and reinforcement through burn off is continuing on the south and east sections of the fire when ground and weather conditions are favourable.  Crews establishing control lines are supported by heavy equipment and aircraft.

Crews continue to reinforce control lines, mop up and patrol in the areas close to homes.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation and northwest winds 10 to 15 kilometers per hour expected later today.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 490 fire fighters, of which 120 are military personnel, seven helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30 per cent contained.  All established control lines are secure and are holding during afternoon active fire behavior.

Crews are busy removing available fuels from between the control lines and the active fire front, usually through burn off.  Burn off operations are limited to either early morning or late afternoon when the local wind conditions are more stable and the humidity is higher.

A fire fighter was taken to hospital yesterday as a result of minor injuries received due to a fall in the steep terrain.

Safety for the fire fighters and the public is always the top priority.  The public is reminded to stay out of active fire fighting areas, and water craft operators need to ensure they remain close to the shoreline and avoid approaching helicopter areas and other floating aircraft.  Full new release.

Gallagher's Spot Fire  August 31 - 8:15 am
It was a pretty quiet night for Kelowna fire crews except for one fire in the five thousand block of McCullough Road just after seven o'clock. The fire department says an old barn burnt on a property past Gallaghers golf course after the first canyon. The blaze was extinguished quickly although the cause of the fire is undetermined. Fire crews are patrolling that area around the clock looking for and putting out any hot spots they find from the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire.

Fire Truck Mishap August 31 - 8:15 am
Five structural firefighters received non life-threatening injuries after a Saturday evening accident near Naramata. The Office of the Fire Commissioner is investigating. Early reports indicate a fire engine was returning from patrolling spot fires in the Glen Fir residential area about six o'clock, when the vehicle went down an embankment. Two BC Forest Service helicopters assisted BC Ambulance paramedics in taking two of the men to Kelowna General Hospital where they are listed in stable condition. Three other firefighters with minor injuries were taken by ambulance to Penticton Hospital.

Sunday's Weather August 31 - 7:44 am
As of 5 am.  Today: Sunny. Local smoke. High 30. UV index 5 or moderate. Air quality 55 (poor) Tonight: Clear. Local smoke. Wind southwest 20 to 30 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 8.  Monday: Sunny. Local smoke. High 28.  Air quality  46 (fair)

City of Kelowna Boil Water Advisories Lifted August 30 - 2:11 pm
All Boil Water Advisories for City of Kelowna Water Utility customers have been removed.  Water main flushing is now complete in lower Okaview, Upper Okaview and the Swick/Rimrock/Timberline area, and all water quality test results show the water meets Candian Drinking Water Guidelines and is suitable to drink.  Residents returning to their homes are advised to run a water tap for five minutes upon entering their homes to ensure any air trapped in the water lines is removed.   This completes flushing and testing of all areas served by the City of Kelowna Water Utility that were previously affected by Boil Water Advisories, and ALL previously issued Boil Water Advisories have been rescinded. 

AS OF NOON ON THE 30TH AUGUST 2003 THE CITY OF KELOWNA WATER UTILITY HAS NO BOIL WATER ADVISORIES IN PLACE.

Customers served by the South East Kelowna Irrigation District are reminded a Water Boil Order remains in effect.  Full EOC Press Release

South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Road Residents Go Home Saturday (August 30 - 12:19 pm updated 3:13 pm)
Residents of South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Roads were allowed to return home today at 2:00 p.m. The Evacuation Order for this area has been rescinded. The neighbourhood is open only to residents until 6:00 p.m.; public access will not be permitted until after 6:00 p.m. Proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks.

This area, and all other areas formerly under Evacuation Order, are now under Evacuation Alert.

Residents are reminded to be cautious when returning home. Firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots and utility companies are working to restore service to all areas as quickly as possible.

Warning: If residents do not have electricity and wish to set up independent generators, permission must be granted by Aquila beforehand. Call 1-877-717-5334 or 310-9473 for more information.

Approximately 70 people remain on Evacuation Order at the southern end of June Springs Road, just outside Kelowna’s eastern boundary.
Full EOC Press Release .

 

See also stage 5 map (PDF 22K) and stage 6 map PDF 11K.
 

Fire Victims - Contact Red Cross (August 30 - 10:00 am)

The Canadian Red Cross is asking those who have needs as a result of the fires in the Okanagan area to contact the local Red Cross office to set up a meeting to discuss assistance.   While some individuals who will require assistance have already identified themselves to the Red Cross, it is believed most have not.

 

The Red Cross BC Forest Fire Response Fund is ready to help victims meet their basic, unmet needs in these difficult times after provincial Emergency Social Services support ends for those who were evacuated.  Fire-affected families can call the Red Cross in Kelowna at (250) 763-1859.

 

Staged Re-Entry Schedule (August 30 - 8:18 pm)
This is the re-entry schedule for the rest of the staged re-entries as we understand it.  We'll post something here as soon as we hear from the Emergency Operations Center on  stage 5 and 6. 

Stage Links Time line
Stage 1 Map (PDF 53K)
List of Streets
Crawford
Completed Wednesday
Stage 2 Map (PDF 45K) Frost, Killdeer, Southridge:
Completed Thursday
Stage 3 Map (PDF 56K) Lakeshore / Braeloch
Completed Thursday
Stage 4 Map (PDF 78K) Kettle Valley, Curlew & southern Uplands Completed Friday..
Stage 5 Map (PDF 22K)

Timberline, Rimrock, Swick Roads:
Re-entry plans 2 pm - 6 pm Saturday

Stage 6  Map (PDF 11K)

South Lakeshore:
Re-entry plans 2 pm - 6 pm Saturday

Stage 7 Map Close-up (PDF 162K
Map Wide (PDF 411K)
List of streets
Gallagher's Canyon and June Springs Completed Thursday.
Stage 8 List of streets June Springs Road/McCulloch Road:
No timeline given for re-entry.

Click here for a map of the re-entry stages 1 through 7. (PDF 621K)

Safety Advisory August 29 - 4:28 pm
The public is asked to stay out of all fire-impacted areas.  EXTREME DANGER exists due to the instability of trees, which could topple silently and without any warning.

Trees may appear to be healthy and undamaged, yet they could be burned from the roots right up through the centre of the trunk causing them to fall in seconds.

In addition, tree roots are burning two feet below ground and hot spots could still flare.

Fire fighting crews from Forestry and the Kelowna Fire Department are still working to mop up hot spots and flare ups. People who do not absolutely need to be in the affected areas may impede the fire fighting efforts.

PARENTS SHOULD EXPLAIN THESE HAZARDS TO CHILDREN AND TELL THEM TO STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRE-AFFECTED AREAS.  Full EOC Press Release .

Click here for more hazards in the re-entry areas.

Insurance Adjusters Allowed to Assess Damages  August 29 - 3:59 pm
Adjusters and insurance company representatives are now permitted to enter all areas affected by the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the City of Kelowna, for the purpose of assessing losses and addressing hazards on private property.  Documentation showing evidence of insurance company representation will be required at road blocks and security check points. 

Insurers are urged to coordinate with their clients regarding management of insured losses.

All persons, including insurance professionals, in the fire-affected areas are reminded hazards may be present, especially in burned structures and in treed areas.  Extreme caution should be exercised in all fire-affected areas.  Insurance professionals are strongly advised to take these hazards into consideration and proceed appropriately.

Full Press Release

Dry Conditions Result in Travel Restriction August 29 - 1:38 pm
KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 260 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70% contained. Fire fighters have been taking full advantage of the favourable weather conditions over the past few days and have made good progress establishing new and reinforcing existing control lines.

Some burning off may occur today along the eastern flanks to strengthen and secure the control lines. Kelowna residents may see an increase in smoke as a result of this activity. Burning off, which is an important tool in the fire fighting effort, will only occur only if both the weather and terrain conditions are favourable.

There is still the possibility for significant fire activity and movement as a result of the extremely dry conditions. Increasing temperatures in the afternoon can result in a change in weather conditions later in the day.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,200 hectares; resources include 225 fire fighters, seven helicopters and 86 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30% contained, the priority for the crews is to establish control lines around the entire fire.

Afternoon winds resulted in an increase in fire activity. All control lines held even with the intense fire activity along the southern and eastern flanks, and along the Dutton-Vaseux ridge.

Road closures remain in effect, and security is posted at the sites for public safety. Only authorized access will be permitted.

Full Ministry of Forests Press Release

 

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Aug. 31 Continuous Coverage


We just took a quick look at the fire ourselves tonight from the vantage point of the south end of Burtch Road.  There appear to be three man hot spots.  All the hot spots appear to be high on the mountain - with the smoke blowing to the east, up the mountain  and away from town.  The east most spot on the mountain appears to be the largest and brightest.  Perhaps half a km away west, just a little lower down is a smaller flare up.  About 10 km west high on the mountain in another large flare up.  It's a spectacular sight to see the eerie red glow of the fire on the mountain top, its reflections against its own smoke rising, all against the black night sky and Mars.  It's scary to think it's still burning, there's been no rain,  and a shift in winds could push it back.  Next up date time will be 8 am.  September 1 - 12:67 am

The Thermo Guy has released new thermo images of this evenings spot fires seen on the mountain over June Springs Road.  (PDF 106K). September 1, 12:06 am

In the past hour we have received 11 separate reports from across the Central Okanagan of increased fire activity tonight.  Broadly speaking the reports speak of spot fires, particularly of one high on the hill moving eastward.  Flames are clearly visible from all over the city and eye witness reports suggest the fire is burning quickly.  At this time of night, however, unless homes are directly threatened (they are not in this case) there are no fire personnel on the mountain, and we won't receive an assessment from BC Forestry on how much the fire has spread until 10 or 11 Monday morning.  We'll keep you posted.  Based on these reports, it sounds like the 20,100 hectare size that the fire has stayed at for the last few days may increase over night because of this new activity.   August 31 - 11:52 pm

Water bomber activity reported throughout the early evening above June Springs Road area tonight.  August 31 - 7:49 pm

Mary Kay’s mission is to Enrich Lives and that is exactly what we want to do. In the events of the last few weeks our whole community has had long, tiring and stressful hours.  We want to pamper you!  We are offering complimentary satin hands treatments, manicures, foot spas, and skin care assessments. Mini makeovers will also be available. Everyone welcome!  Thursday, September 4th, 10 AM – 8 PM,  Prestige Inn, Kelowna. Sponsored by Local Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultants & The Prestige Inn Kelowna.  August 31 - 5:53 pm

Information on School openings and closures including the revised Okanagan Mission Secondary bus schedule can be found by clicking hereAugust 31 - 8:15 pm

The Canadian Home Builders Association of Kelowna offers a helpful link to help select a builder and hire a contractor:   http://www.hiringacontractor.com Full Press Release.  August 31 - 8:11 am

Saturday in Chilliwack, the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association held a relief raising effort called "Chilliwack Cares" for the residents on the recent fires in the Okanagan area. In conjunction with the Chilliwack Salvation Army, the event consisted of local musicians, dancers and entertainers performing for the duration of the event. Chilliwack residents are were asked to stop by and make a donation, buy a hot dog and sign the banner that will be sent here.  August 31 - 7:51 am.

Smoky conditions are again forecast fro today.  See Air Quality Index for the latest reading.  Interior Health has some great resources on living with smoky skies as does our "Going Home - What to do after the fire". August 31 - 7:50 am

A revised Evacuation Order, Alert and Fire Map as of today, 2 pm is now available.  (PDF 1 MB) August 30 - 3:03 pm

 

Thanks Campbell River! The first shipment of supplies for Kelowna fire victims from Campbell River has been shipped out. It includes pet food, supplies for the SPCA and infant/toddler clothing and toys for the ADRA warehouse on Leckie road. So far they have collected 10,000lbs of clothing and supplies for fire relief victims. WebsiteAugust 30 - 2:47 pm

 

The Fire Watch Archive page has been updated to provide easier navigation.  August 30 - 10:59 am

 

Eachanoriginal, a local magnet and greeting card manufacturer, has created a special line of hand-painted 'yellow ribbon' fridge magnets in order to raise money for the fire relief fund. The magnets are available currently at Blue Ginger gift store at 2903 Pandosy St, and the Laughing Moon Gallery on Lakeshore Road. They will sell for $3.50 and 100% of the profit will be donated to the fire relief fund.  August 30 - 10:56 am

 

Yellow Rose B&B may have been destroyed by the fire but Yellow Rose Catering is still up and running.  Call  Paul at 764-5257. August 16 - 10:00 am

 

The Red Cross is also seeking additional volunteer support to assist with its office and staffing bureau operations in Kelowna, as resources are becoming stretched. People with strong administrative or managerial skills who have time to commit to assisting the Red Cross manage its disaster response and community recovery operations should call the Kelowna office at 763-1859. August 30 - 10:00 am

 

Fire affected streets will receive unlimited garbage pickup on Monday Sept. 1st and Friday Sept.  5th.  Do not put hazardous waste in the garbage.  Refreeze fouled foods and place out shortly before pickup.  Regular garbage collection regulations apply.  Recycling schedule remains unchanged.  Landfill fees will be waived for those on fire affected streets Sunday and Monday.  There will also be unlimited yard waste collection for affect streets on September 12th.   Click for more details. August 30 - 9:45 pm

 

Terasen has released an Information Advisory to those without gas service. Check out their website for a schedule of when gas service will be restored.   August 30 - 9:28 am

On Monday September 1st from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, the Kelowna curling Club will be hosting the Labour Day Hose Down Benefit Concert featuring: Glockwork Orange, Viscious Fishes, Dogskin Suit, Ricky and the Blue Cats, Youngun, Flying Takameenies, and more.   $5 donation to the Red Cross Fire Relief fund; all food and beverage (no alcohol) sales also to go the relief fund. This is an all ages show, so please bring your kids. There will also be tonnes of door prizes.  August 29 - 2:52pm

 

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Saturday August 30

City of Kelowna Boil Water Advisories Lifted August 30 - 2:11 pm
All Boil Water Advisories for City of Kelowna Water Utility customers have been removed.  Water main flushing is now complete in lower Okaview, Upper Okaview and the Swick/Rimrock/Timberline area, and all water quality test results show the water meets Candian Drinking Water Guidelines and is suitable to drink.  Residents returning to their homes are advised to run a water tap for five minutes upon entering their homes to ensure any air trapped in the water lines is removed.   This completes flushing and testing of all areas served by the City of Kelowna Water Utility that were previously affected by Boil Water Advisories, and ALL previously issued Boil Water Advisories have been rescinded. 

AS OF NOON ON THE 30TH AUGUST 2003 THE CITY OF KELOWNA WATER UTILITY HAS NO BOIL WATER ADVISORIES IN PLACE.

Customers served by the South East Kelowna Irrigation District are reminded a Water Boil Order remains in effect.  Full EOC Press Release

South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Road Residents Go Home Saturday (August 30 - 12:19 pm updated 3:13 pm)
Residents of South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Roads were allowed to return home today at 2:00 p.m. The Evacuation Order for this area has been rescinded. The neighbourhood is open only to residents until 6:00 p.m.; public access will not be permitted until after 6:00 p.m. Proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks.

This area, and all other areas formerly under Evacuation Order, are now under Evacuation Alert.

Residents are reminded to be cautious when returning home. Firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots and utility companies are working to restore service to all areas as quickly as possible.

Warning: If residents do not have electricity and wish to set up independent generators, permission must be granted by Aquila beforehand. Call 1-877-717-5334 or 310-9473 for more information.

Approximately 70 people remain on Evacuation Order at the southern end of June Springs Road, just outside Kelowna’s eastern boundary.
Full EOC Press Release .

 

See also stage 5 map (PDF 22K) and stage 6 map PDF 11K.

Ministry of Forests Fire Update
(August 30 - 10:51 am)

The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 678 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 247 pieces of heavy equipment.  The fire is estimated to be 70 per cent contained.  Yesterday was another day where good progress was made.

Fire crews continue to establish control lines in an effort to secure a perimeter around the fire.  Work is also continuing on the mop up activities within the established control lines.

Winds are expected to be light today.  There will be an increase the ground fire activity due to increasing temperatures through the day; as a result we expect to see more ground fire activity and an increase in smoke from hot spots that continue to smolder.

The forest fire is still actively burning, fire crews will be here for weeks to come working to contain and mop up this fire.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 295 fire fighters, seven helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30 per cent contained.  Crews continue to work to hold the fire within the established control lines.  The increase in fire size overnight is a result of burn off activities used to secure control lines.

Current light wind conditions are favourable for the fire fighting effort in the southeast sector.  Weather forecast predicts stronger winds from the west this afternoon which will increase the fire activity and put pressure on the control lines on the eastern flank of the fire.

A backcountry travel restriction has been put into place for the southern portion of the province. This restriction will remain in effect until September 14, 2003, but may be extended if extreme fire danger continues.  Full new release.

 

Fire Victims - Contact Red Cross (August 30 - 10:00 am)

The Canadian Red Cross is asking those who have needs as a result of the fires in the Okanagan area to contact the local Red Cross office to set up a meeting to discuss assistance.   While some individuals who will require assistance have already identified themselves to the Red Cross, it is believed most have not.

 

The Red Cross BC Forest Fire Response Fund is ready to help victims meet their basic, unmet needs in these difficult times after provincial Emergency Social Services support ends for those who were evacuated.  Fire-affected families can call the Red Cross in Kelowna at (250) 763-1859.

 

Day Passes For June Springs Road/McCulloch Road (August 30 - 9:53 pm)
Temporary re-entry is being allowed for the approximate 70 residents on Evacuation Order who live outside of the City boundary at the south end of June Springs Road. Re-entry permission will be allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents will be required to show a driver’s licence or other identification that clearly shows where they live in this area before access will be allowed at the RCMP roadblocks.

The Fire Commissioner’s Office and utility companies are presently working to determine whether residents of South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Roads will be allowed to return home today. An announcement will be made later today.

The reception centre at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. Lodging and food voucher extensions expire on Tuesday, September 2. If residents require further extensions, they must report to the Reception Centre by Tuesday.
Full EOC Press Release .

Staged Re-Entry Schedule (August 30 - 8:18 pm)
This is the re-entry schedule for the rest of the staged re-entries as we understand it.  We'll post something here as soon as we hear from the Emergency Operations Center on  stage 5 and 6. 

Stage Links Time line
Stage 1 Map (PDF 53K)
List of Streets
Crawford
Completed Wednesday
Stage 2 Map (PDF 45K) Frost, Killdeer, Southridge:
Completed Thursday
Stage 3 Map (PDF 56K) Lakeshore / Braeloch
Completed Thursday
Stage 4 Map (PDF 78K) Kettle Valley, Curlew & southern Uplands Completed Friday..
Stage 5 Map (PDF 22K)

Timberline, Rimrock, Swick Roads:
Re-entry plans 2 pm - 6 pm Saturday

Stage 6  Map (PDF 11K)

South Lakeshore:
Re-entry plans 2 pm - 6 pm Saturday

Stage 7 Map Close-up (PDF 162K
Map Wide (PDF 411K)
List of streets
Gallagher's Canyon and June Springs Completed Thursday.
Stage 8 List of streets June Springs Road/McCulloch Road:
No timeline given for re-entry.

Click here for a map of the re-entry stages 1 through 7. (PDF 621K)

Click here for a list of streets that remain on Evacuation Order.

Saturday's Weather August 30 - 7:54 am
As of 5 am.  Today: Sunny. High 31. UV index 5 or moderate.  Air quality: 38 (fair) Tonight .. Clear. Low 9.  Sunday:. Sunny. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 30.  Air quality 36 (fair)

Safety Advisory
August 29 - 4:28 pm
The public is asked to stay out of all fire-impacted areas.  EXTREME DANGER exists due to the instability of trees, which could topple silently and without any warning.

Trees may appear to be healthy and undamaged, yet they could be burned from the roots right up through the centre of the trunk causing them to fall in seconds.

In addition, tree roots are burning two feet below ground and hot spots could still flare.

Fire fighting crews from Forestry and the Kelowna Fire Department are still working to mop up hot spots and flare ups. People who do not absolutely need to be in the affected areas may impede the fire fighting efforts.

PARENTS SHOULD EXPLAIN THESE HAZARDS TO CHILDREN AND TELL THEM TO STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRE-AFFECTED AREAS.  Full EOC Press Release .

Click here for more hazards in the re-entry areas.

Boil Water Advisory Lifted in Southridge / Stonebridge  August 29 - 4:09 pm
City of Kelowna Water Utility officials have confirmed water in the Southridge and Stonebridge subdivisions is safe to drink. The Boil Water Advisory has been lifted in these areas east of Chute Lake Road, however residents are advised to run a water tap for five minutes upon entering their homes to ensure that any air trapped in the lines is removed. The Boil Water Advisory in Crawford Estates was lifted yesterday, Thursday August 28th.

The Boil Water Advisory remains in place for other evacuees returning to their homes who are served by the City of Kelowna Water Utility. This affects residents in the Okaview area, and residents in the Timberline/Rimrock/Swick Road area who may be returning to their homes this week-end. Testing continues and results will be available in the next few days; at that time residents will be advised if the Boil Water Advisory can be lifted in their areas.

For those customers serviced by the South East Kelowna Irrigation District, a Water Boil Order remains in effect.

Full Press Release

Insurance Adjusters Allowed to Assess Damages  August 29 - 3:59 pm
Adjusters and insurance company representatives are now permitted to enter all areas affected by the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the City of Kelowna, for the purpose of assessing losses and addressing hazards on private property.  Documentation showing evidence of insurance company representation will be required at road blocks and security check points. 

Insurers are urged to coordinate with their clients regarding management of insured losses.

All persons, including insurance professionals, in the fire-affected areas are reminded hazards may be present, especially in burned structures and in treed areas.  Extreme caution should be exercised in all fire-affected areas.  Insurance professionals are strongly advised to take these hazards into consideration and proceed appropriately.

Full Press Release

Dry Conditions Result in Travel Restriction August 29 - 1:38 pm
KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 260 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70% contained. Fire fighters have been taking full advantage of the favourable weather conditions over the past few days and have made good progress establishing new and reinforcing existing control lines.

Some burning off may occur today along the eastern flanks to strengthen and secure the control lines. Kelowna residents may see an increase in smoke as a result of this activity. Burning off, which is an important tool in the fire fighting effort, will only occur only if both the weather and terrain conditions are favourable.

There is still the possibility for significant fire activity and movement as a result of the extremely dry conditions. Increasing temperatures in the afternoon can result in a change in weather conditions later in the day.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,200 hectares; resources include 225 fire fighters, seven helicopters and 86 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30% contained, the priority for the crews is to establish control lines around the entire fire.

Afternoon winds resulted in an increase in fire activity. All control lines held even with the intense fire activity along the southern and eastern flanks, and along the Dutton-Vaseux ridge.

Road closures remain in effect, and security is posted at the sites for public safety. Only authorized access will be permitted.

Full Ministry of Forests Press Release

 

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Aug. 30 Continuous Coverage


We have had several reports tonight of a spot fire on McCullough Road near Gallagher's Canyon Golf Course just after 7:00 pm.  Onlookers credit quick action by several helicopters that brought the fire under control.  Click here for an eyewitness account. August 30 - 8:35 pm

We have received a number of unconfirmed reports tonight about a fire truck injury accident on Naramata Road at about 6:30 pm this evening.  Reports indicate the fire truck went off the road. Injured were taken to hospital.  We will post more details tomorrow.  August 30 - 8:01 pm

A revised Evacuation Order, Alert and Fire Map as of today, 2 pm is now available.  (PDF 1 MB) August 30 - 3:03 pm

 

Thanks Campbell River! The first shipment of supplies for Kelowna fire victims from Campbell River has been shipped out. It includes pet food, supplies for the SPCA and infant/toddler clothing and toys for the ADRA warehouse on Leckie road. So far they have collected 10,000lbs of clothing and supplies for fire relief victims. WebsiteAugust 30 - 2:47 pm

Very smoky conditions today throughout he Central Okanagan.  See Air Quality Index for the latest reading.  Interior Health has some great resources on living with smoky skies as does our "Going Home - What to do after the fire". August 30 - 12:34 pm

 

The Fire Watch Archive page has been updated to provide easier navigation.  August 30 - 10:59 am

 

Eachanoriginal, a local magnet and greeting card manufacturer, has created a special line of hand-painted 'yellow ribbon' fridge magnets in order to raise money for the fire relief fund. The magnets are available currently at Blue Ginger gift store at 2903 Pandosy St, and the Laughing Moon Gallery on Lakeshore Road. They will sell for $3.50 and 100% of the profit will be donated to the fire relief fund.  August 30 - 10:56 am

 

Yellow Rose B&B may have been destroyed by the fire but Yellow Rose Catering is still up and running.  Call  Paul at 764-5257. August 16 - 10:00 am

 

The Red Cross is also seeking additional volunteer support to assist with its office and staffing bureau operations in Kelowna, as resources are becoming stretched. People with strong administrative or managerial skills who have time to commit to assisting the Red Cross manage its disaster response and community recovery operations should call the Kelowna office at 763-1859. August 30 - 10:00 am

 

Fire affected streets will receive unlimited garbage pickup on Monday Sept. 1st and Friday Sept.  5th.  Do not put hazardous waste in the garbage.  Refreeze fouled foods and place out shortly before pickup.  Regular garbage collection regulations apply.  Recycling schedule remains unchanged.  Landfill fees will be waived for those on fire affected streets Sunday and Monday.  There will also be unlimited yard waste collection for affect streets on September 12th.   Click for more details. August 30 - 9:45 pm

 

Terasen has released an Information Advisory to those without gas service. Check out their website for a schedule of when gas service will be restored.   August 30 - 9:28 am

 

London Drugs continues to raise money for the Red Cross Fire Relief at its stores across BC.   They have raised $75,000 to date.  More. August 30 - 8:15 am

 

The Brick continues to donate mattresses and still has a large number available to those in need or have been displaced during the fire crisis. Serta, Sealy and Simmons have all joined forces and have supplied these beds in conjunction with The Brick. Please call Jamie McBride or Tom St.Georges at The Brick. 765-2220 August 29 - 5:30 pm

 

Information on School openings and closures including the revised Okanagan Mission Secondary bus schedule can be found by clicking hereAugust 29 - 6:24 pm

On Monday September 1st from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, the Kelowna curling Club will be hosting the Labour Day Hose Down Benefit Concert featuring: Glockwork Orange, Viscious Fishes, Dogskin Suit, Ricky and the Blue Cats, Youngun, Flying Takameenies, and more.   $5 donation to the Red Cross Fire Relief fund; all food and beverage (no alcohol) sales also to go the relief fund. This is an all ages show, so please bring your kids. There will also be tonnes of door prizes.  August 29 - 2:52pm

Coopers Foods in Rutland will be hosting a pancake breakfast today from 8-12 with the Rutland Lions.  All proceeds will be donated to the fire relief fund. To date Coopers Foods has brought over 10 truck loads of food for the two relief centres and to the fire fighters. August 30 - 8:36 am

 

The people of Alert Bay have donated 25,000 pounds of salmon to residents of Kelowna impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. The fish is available free of charge to residents who were evacuated, to emergency response personnel and to the numerous volunteers involved in the fire fighting and recovery efforts.  A drive-through distribution system has been established for Saturday August 30th between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the south west corner of Bernard Avenue and Spall Road. Click here for details.  Click here for a map of the distribution system. (PDF 1MB) August 29 - 6:17 pm

 

Moxie's Classic Grill will be hosting a BBQ fundraiser today.   All money raised will go towards the Kelowna Area Okanagan Mountain Fire Recovery Fund.  With the support of Coca Cola, Moxie’s will offer burgers and soft drinks for $3, and cheeseburgers and soft drinks for $3.50. August 30 - 8:36 am

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Friday August 29

Safety Advisory August 29 - 4:28 pm
The public is asked to stay out of all fire-impacted areas.  EXTREME DANGER exists due to the instability of trees, which could topple silently and without any warning.

Trees may appear to be healthy and undamaged, yet they could be burned from the roots right up through the centre of the trunk causing them to fall in seconds.

In addition, tree roots are burning two feet below ground and hot spots could still flare.

Fire fighting crews from Forestry and the Kelowna Fire Department are still working to mop up hot spots and flare ups. People who do not absolutely need to be in the affected areas may impede the fire fighting efforts.

PARENTS SHOULD EXPLAIN THESE HAZARDS TO CHILDREN AND TELL THEM TO STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRE-AFFECTED AREAS.  Full EOC Press Release .

Click here for more hazards in the re-entry areas.

Boil Water Advisory Lifted in Southridge / Stonebridge  August 29 - 4:09 pm
City of Kelowna Water Utility officials have confirmed water in the Southridge and Stonebridge subdivisions is safe to drink. The Boil Water Advisory has been lifted in these areas east of Chute Lake Road, however residents are advised to run a water tap for five minutes upon entering their homes to ensure that any air trapped in the lines is removed. The Boil Water Advisory in Crawford Estates was lifted yesterday, Thursday August 28th.

The Boil Water Advisory remains in place for other evacuees returning to their homes who are served by the City of Kelowna Water Utility. This affects residents in the Okaview area, and residents in the Timberline/Rimrock/Swick Road area who may be returning to their homes this week-end. Testing continues and results will be available in the next few days; at that time residents will be advised if the Boil Water Advisory can be lifted in their areas.

For those customers serviced by the South East Kelowna Irrigation District, a Water Boil Order remains in effect.

Full Press Release

Insurance Adjusters Allowed to Assess Damages  August 29 - 3:59 pm
Adjusters and insurance company representatives are now permitted to enter all areas affected by the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the City of Kelowna, for the purpose of assessing losses and addressing hazards on private property.  Documentation showing evidence of insurance company representation will be required at road blocks and security check points. 

Insurers are urged to coordinate with their clients regarding management of insured losses.

All persons, including insurance professionals, in the fire-affected areas are reminded hazards may be present, especially in burned structures and in treed areas.  Extreme caution should be exercised in all fire-affected areas.  Insurance professionals are strongly advised to take these hazards into consideration and proceed appropriately.

Full Press Release

Dry Conditions Result in Travel Restriction August 29 - 1:38 pm
KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size. Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 260 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70% contained. Fire fighters have been taking full advantage of the favourable weather conditions over the past few days and have made good progress establishing new and reinforcing existing control lines.

Some burning off may occur today along the eastern flanks to strengthen and secure the control lines. Kelowna residents may see an increase in smoke as a result of this activity. Burning off, which is an important tool in the fire fighting effort, will only occur only if both the weather and terrain conditions are favourable.

There is still the possibility for significant fire activity and movement as a result of the extremely dry conditions. Increasing temperatures in the afternoon can result in a change in weather conditions later in the day.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,200 hectares; resources include 225 fire fighters, seven helicopters and 86 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30% contained, the priority for the crews is to establish control lines around the entire fire.

Afternoon winds resulted in an increase in fire activity. All control lines held even with the intense fire activity along the southern and eastern flanks, and along the Dutton-Vaseux ridge.

Road closures remain in effect, and security is posted at the sites for public safety. Only authorized access will be permitted.

Full Ministry of Forests Press Release

Returning Residents - Beware of Dangers August 29 - 6:56 pm
As thousands of people return to their homes in neighbourhoods impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, it's important that people be aware of potential dangers they could encounter.

Hazards may be present in all areas, especially in burned structures and in treed areas.  Extreme caution should be exercised in all fire-affected areas.  Parents should take the time to explain the hazards to children and tell them to stay away from burned properties. Parent should supervise children carefully.  

Typical hazards that result from wildfire and structure fires include:

  • Danger trees (trees without branches that fall silently, other falling trees)

  • Dangerous structures (chimney remains and  other structural components)

  • Non-visible collapsed areas such as ash pits and compromised septic systems

  • Visible open holes and pits

  • Hot or burning materials (hot areas may continue for several weeks following a fire the magnitude of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire)

  • Downed electrical lines

  • Hazardous materials

  • Sharp objects

  • Wildlife (animals that have been pushed out of their normal habitat into the City)

Full EOC Press Release

Stage 4 Re-entry to Occur Friday at Noon August 29 - 11:10 am
Residents in the Kettle Valley, Curlew and the southern parts of the Uplands communities will be returning home today. The areas open to residents only at 12 noon, and proof of residency will be required at the RCMP road checks. Full public access begins at 4:00 p.m. See the stage 4 map PDF 78K of today's reentry area and street list. 

Residents are advised that all utility services are safe, however not all residents can be guaranteed access to electrical power, telephone and natural gas. The utility companies are working to restore service to all areas as quickly as possible, however some residents may not be fully connected until Monday September 1st.

With this return of 2,750 residents today, approximately 300 residents remain on Evacuation Order.

Services in the South Lakeshore, Rimrock, Timberline and Swick Road areas (re-entry stages 5 & 6) will be re-evaluated later today and a decision will be announced tomorrow as to when the 230 people in this area may be able to return home.  A return is anticipated either Saturday or Sunday, depending on the progress of utility crews.

The 70 people who live outside of the City boundary at the south end of June Springs Road will remain on Evacuation Order as long as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire threatens this area.  Full EOC Press Release

An updated Evacuation Area & Alert Area map (with fire edge) as of Aug. 29/03, 12 noon is also available.  (PDF 1MB)

Today's Weather August 29 - 6:18 am
As of 5 am:  Today: Sunny. Local smoke. Wind light. High 30. UV index 5 or moderate.  Air quality 41 (fair).  Tonight: Clear. Low 8. Saturday: Sunny. High 31. Air quality 42 (fair).

Staged Re-Entry Maps Now Available (Aug. 27 - 8:52 pm Updated Aug. 28 3:08 pm)
The Emergency Operations Center has released seven maps detailing the seven areas of staged re-entry.  Further instructions are pending as to when each of the areas will be allowed re-entry.  In the meantime, you may wish to use these maps to familiarize your self with what stage you are in:

Stage Links Time line
Stage 1 Map (PDF 53K)
List of Streets
 (Crawford - Completed Wednesday)
Stage 2 Map (PDF 45K) Re-entry noon - 4 pm today
Stage 3 Map (PDF 56K) Re-entry noon - 4 pm today
Stage 4 Map (PDF 78K) Re-entry tentative date is noon Friday
Stage 5 Map (PDF 22K)

Re-entry plans to be confirmed

Stage 6  Map (PDF 11K)

Re-entry plans to be confirmed

Stage 7 Map Close-up (PDF 162K
Map Wide (PDF 411K)
List of streets
Gallagher's Canyon and June Springs Road Re-entry at 2 pm today.
Stage 8 List of streets No timeline given for re-entry

Click here for a map of the re-entry stages 1 through 7. (PDF 621K)

Click here for a list of streets that remain on Evacuation Order.

Dear BC, Canada, and the rest of the World,  August 29 - 12:45 am

Thank you.

My family is one of the lucky ones that is waiting return to a house that is standing. On Friday night, a Kelowna fireman kicked down our blazing fence and fought like crazy with his colleagues to save our home on Curlew Drive and the next five homes on one side of ours. Our next door neighbor is not so lucky. Their home was already collapsing in flames when the firemen arrived. I think about my neighbors constantly. We've spoken to the fireman since. He has lost his own house. He apologized to us for kicking down our fence. We hugged him and said "How can we ever thank you for saving our home?" He said, "No thanks needed, I was just doing my job"...
read the rest of the letter from the Neu & Hewson Families

Read more Poems, Songs, Stories and Letters from the new "Reflections" page

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Aug. 29 Continuous Coverage


 

The people of Alert Bay have donated 25,000 pounds of salmon to residents of Kelowna impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. The fish is available free of charge to residents who were evacuated, to emergency response personnel and to the numerous volunteers involved in the fire fighting and recovery efforts.  A drive-through distribution system has been established for Saturday August 30th between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the south west corner of Bernard Avenue and Spall Road. Click here for details.  Click here for a map of the distribution system. (PDF 1MB) August 29 - 6:17 pm

 

London Drugs continues to raise money for the Red Cross Fire Relief at its stores across BC.   They have raised $75,000 to date.  More. August 30 - 8:15 am

 

The Brick continues to donate mattresses and still has a large number available to those in need or have been displaced during the fire crisis. Serta, Sealy and Simmons have all joined forces and have supplied these beds in conjunction with The Brick. Please call Jamie McBride or Tom St.Georges at The Brick. 765-2220 August 29 - 5:30 pm

 

Information on School openings and closures including the revised Okanagan Mission Secondary bus schedule can be found by clicking hereAugust 29 - 6:24 pm

On Monday September 1st from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, the Kelowna curling Club will be hosting the Labour Day Hose Down Benefit Concert featuring: Glockwork Orange, Viscious Fishes, Dogskin Suit, Ricky and the Blue Cats, Youngun, Flying Takameenies, and more.   $5 donation to the Red Cross Fire Relief fund; all food and beverage (no alcohol) sales also to go the relief fund. This is an all ages show, so please bring your kids. There will also be tonnes of door prizes.  August 29 - 2:52pm

The Premier has extended the state of emergency  See more on page 1 of our regular news site or click for the full press release.  August 29 - 11:46 am

A new Evacuation Area & Alert Area map (with fire edge) as of Aug. 29/03, 12 noon is now available.  (PDF 1MB) August 29 - 11:20 am

Fire Update from Ministry of Forests Darren Campbell:  Fire fighting went well last night.  Control line in Bellevue Canyon is holding.  Lighter winds and cooler evenings should help. August 29 - 8:03 am

Residents of all affected areas have now set-up their own private website http://www.southslopes.ca Aug 29 -August 29 - 6:31 am

DT's song "Time to Believe" will be available at Canadian Tire and Walmart stores starting next Friday or buy online.   August 29 - 6:50 am

Our photo gallery continues to be updated daily.  It was updated very early this morning.  August 29 - 1:11 am

For every bag of clothing brought in for donation to Big Brothers and Big sisters, Value Village is donating $1.00 per bag to the Red Cross fire relief fund here in Kelowna.  August 29 - 12:59 am

Trance Blackman will be performing at 8 to 8:50pm Friday at the "Summer's End" Show for Parks Alive (Kerry Park).  Blackman & the Butterfly are performing at The Verve (across the street from Silk FM) this Saturday night (Aug 30) at 8:30pm. CDs on sale at both events for $20; $10 from every CD sold will go directly to the Fire Relief Fund either by way of the Yellow Ribbon Campaign (Silk) or the Central Okanagan Foundation.   August 29 - 12:56 am

Aerial pictures by Kelly Hayes taken Thursday showing the damage to Okanagan Mountain Park.  Aug 28 - 10:51 pm

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Thursday August 28

Gallaghers Day Pass Info for Thursday (Aug. 28 - 8:21 am)
The Fire Commissioners Office has announced that residents in the evacuated areas of Gallagher's Canyon subdivision, from the intersection of McCulloch Road and Mahonia Drive and including Field Road, will be granted temporary re-entry today (Thursday) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  These areas are accessible by Canyon Boulevard from the north and south.  

Residents will be required to show a driver's license or other identification that clearly shows they live in this area before access will be allowed at the RCMP roadblocks.  Access to these areas will be assessed daily.  Full EOC Press Release

EOC Scales Back Operational Hours August 28 4:45 pm
As containment of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire increases and the immediate threat to residential neighbourhoods diminishes, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be scaling back its operations. The Centre will continue to be staffed on a daily basis, however the number of people working at the EOC will decrease as a shift from emergency mode to recovery mode occurs.  In addition the Public Information Line will continue to be staffed to assist callers with queries. Effective Friday August 29th the Public Info Line will be open between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily, including the long week-end. People calling outside of these hours will be able to leave a message, and their call will be returned the next day. Full EOC Press Release

Beware of Unsafe Trees in Crawford 4:05 pm
Forestry crews are undertaking a tree safety assessment near the eastern section of Crawford Estates, east of Stewart Road West.  Crews are felling unsafe trees and advise that residents should be extremely cautious when out walking in this area. Full EOC Press Release

Boil Water Advisory Lifted for Crawford Estates 3:49 pm
City of Kelowna Water Utility officials have confirmed water in the Crawford Estates area is safe to drink. The Boil Water Advisory has been lifted in this area, however residents are advised to run a water tap for five minutes upon entering their homes to ensure any air trapped in the lines is removed.

The Boil Water Advisory remains in place for other evacuees returning to their homes who are served by the City of Kelowna Water Utility. Testing continues and results will be available in the next few days; at that time residents will be advised if the Boil Water Advisory can be lifted in their areas. This includes customers in the upper levels of the Chute Lake Road area, Southridge, Stonebridge and Summerhill neighbourhoods who returned to their homes today. For those customers serviced by the South East Kelowna Irrigation District, a Water Boil Order remains in effect.  Full EOC Press Release

Terasen Restoring Gas to Crawford  2:50 pm
Terasen gas crews will be restoring customer service in the Crawford area at 2:00 pm today.  Work should be complete later this evening with crews working until approximately 10:00 pm. You will need to be home during this time in order for service to be restored and all pets must be restrained. If your home is missed and has been identified with a yellow tag, you should call our customer service center at 1-877-711-8877. We will be starting work in the South Ridge, Barnaby Road areas immediately after our Crawford restoration is complete. Do NOT attempt to relight any gas appliances. Terasen Gas must check all equipment prior to relighting.

Stage 7 Re-entry: Gallagher's Canyon & June Springs 2:02 pm
Residents of the Gallaghers Canyon and June Springs Road areas (south of the intersection with Jean Road) within the City of Kelowna boundaries are being allowed to return to their homes at 2 p.m. today, Thursday August 28.  This is a revision to the original area previously shown as Stage Seven

Click here for an address list of homes in the stage 7 area.

Approximately 2,100 people will be returning home in this area. The total number of residents permitted to return home today now stands at approximately 3,450.

The total number of residents still on Evacuation Order and out of their homes now stands at approximately 3,000. 

Stage 8 Update: Homes Outside the City 2:00 pm
Generally homes in the area outside the City boundaries (now known as Stage 8) remain on Evacuation Order and residents will be notified when they may return home. However a few properties east of the City boundary on McCulloch Road are included in the re-entry, and residents will also be allowed to return home.

The Evacuation Order area for Stage 8 begins where June Springs Road crosses the City boundary and follows the City boundary east until it crosses McCulloch Road, it follows both sides of McCulloch Road, then proceeds east on McCulloch Road to two kilometres northwest of the dam at the west end of McCulloch Lake and goes south and east of these properties returning to the boundary of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and follows this boundary south, west and north back to the City of Kelowna boundary, then follows the City boundary east back to June Springs Road.Full EOC Press Release

Click here for an address list of homes in the stage 8 area.

Click here for a list of streets that remain on Evacuation Order.

Stage 2 & 3: Thursday Re-entry Plan 11:19 am
Another 1,338 residents will be allowed to return to their homes today in the upper levels of the Chute Lake Road, Southridge, Stonebridge and Summerhill neighbourhoods. Access will be for residents only between 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m. to permit orderly re-entry.  (See staged maps 2 and 3 below.)

The public is reminded that fire tape is in place in many locations in the impacted areas. The fire tape is there as a visual indication of hazards but no security is in place to restrict access. Safety and security of private property remains the responsibility of property owners.

It is recommended that property owners only grant access to those persons with a need to be on the affected property such as utility crews, contractors and insurance representatives. Access should be to utility crews, contractors and property owners only. Hazards such as dangerous trees, compromised structural components and ash pits may still exist.

The fire tape may be removed at the discretion of the property owner, however it is recommended that the tape remain in place as a visual reminder of the potential danger. It may be appropriate for property owners to consider other means of securing their properties.

City crews are removing some trees on private property that pose an obvious danger to public safety. The authority for this action has been granted under a Public Safety Order pursuant to the Provincial Declaration of Emergency. However, property owners are advised to retain the services of a certified arborist to evaluate the safety of all trees on private property, and to consult building professionals to assess structural hazards resulting from fire-impacted buildings. Full EOC Press Release

Fire Recovery Forum Thursday At Sky Reach  (August 26 - 5:12 pm)
Residents who have been impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire are invited to an information sharing forum on Thursday August 28th, from 12 noon through 8 pm in the Concourse of Skyreach Place, 1223 Water Street.  The session is open to all property owners who were affected by the fire.

Representatives from various departments of the City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan will be on hand, along with organizations such as the Interior Health Authority, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, local utilities and social agencies to answer residents' questions. 

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Navy Coming To Help Mop Up Fires (Aug 28 10:00 am)
The first of what could be several teams of navy personnel are preparing to come to Kelowna to help mop up the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.  Lieutenant Commander Gerry Pash at Navy Public Affairs says the first team of 101 men and women from Esquimalt will soon be on their way. 

They will receive instruction in forest fire fighting from the BC Forest Service.  They will be engaged in mop up operations, allowing fully trained firefighters to be directed to higher risk areas.  And additional teams of 100 Navy personnel are being assembled to be deployed on short notice, should they be required.  Pash says the Navy personnel are prepared to be away from home for up to a month.

 Weather Forecast as of 5 am (Aug 28 - 12:20 am)
Today: Sunny. Local smoke. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 28. Air qaulity 39 (fair).   Tonight: Clear. Local smoke. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 8.  Air quality 37 (fair).

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Aug. 28 Continuous Coverage


More interesting thermal images from Thermografix.  Compare with the images taken Friday.  August  28 - 10:46 pm

Click here for instructions on how to make your own t-shirts using Wally Braun's t-shirt iron-on.  August 28 - 10:39 pm

Beth in Penticton reports that the evacuation order for Glen Fir (north of Naramata and Indian Rock, south of the Chute Lake lodge) has been rescinded as of 2 pm today.   August  28 - 9:24 pm

The local astronomy club is offering a break from earthly concerns. Weather permitting, they'll have telescopic views of Mars during its current close approach. Join them at the Kelowna Curling Club on 551 Recreation Avenue in the North End, each night through Friday, between 9 and 11. For more information, call 861-3074.   August  28 - 9:11 pm

The EOC has released a map of the re-entry stages 1 through 7. (PDF 621K) and a list of streets that remain on Evacuation Order.  (Note this will change as of noon Friday.)   Aug 28 - 5:52 pm

VMR Communications is also selling a t-shirt to raise funds for the Fire Relief Fund. VMR has locations throughout the valley.  5:56 pm

Pictures of today's air tour of the fire front are now available. 5:40 pm

Interior Health has released seven helpful health articles: (PDF)

  1. Returning to home
  2. Private water systems and wells
  3. Stress and Nutrition
  4. Living with Smoky Skies
  5. Smoke Exposure - FAQ
  6. Helping Kids Cope
  7. Okanagan  Mental Health Contact list  4:45 pm

The BCAA has release a couple of useful documents: An FAQ On Home Insurance and How to reduce damage to your car from Forest Fires.  3:46 pm

A revised Evacuation Alert and Order map along with the leading edge of the fire is now available  (PDF 1.4MB).  3:04 pm

The Central Okanagan Foundation has now  set up a fire relief fund.  See full press release. 2:50 pm

School District 23 says its back to school as normal September 2nd. See Press Release.  2:12 pm

The Provincial Government has upgraded a backcountry travel advisory issued last week to a backcountry travel restriction to reduce the risk of new human-caused fires in southern British Columbia, Forests Minister Michael de Jong announced today. See full press release here. 1:38 pm

Flare Up at Stellar Drive,
trying to use garden hose to control it.  Residents on tour of area not allowed to leave the bus. Flare up also spotted at Uplands.  Both fires brought under control.   1:15 pm

Traffic: Police have a house surrounded at the corner of Richter and Raymer. 1:05 pm

More Thermal Maps available: Okanagan Mountain Park (JPG 1.2MB PDF 3.2MB)  Vaseux Lake JPG 1.2 MB PDF 5.9 MB)   More.  1:06 pm

Terasen Gas has an emergency web page with important phone numbers and procedures.  12:58 pm 

Hot and dry conditions persist.  Ministry of Forestry press release.  11:33 am

Red Cross:  $1.75 million has been raised for the BC Fire Response.  This is more than double than what they had on the weekend.  They feel they have enough funds to meet the current needs - but will continue to accept funds if new needs occur.  Funds raised will stay in the community. 11:28 am

Three fire fighters, three RCMP officers, and one ambulance attendant lost their homes in the fire.  Newly designed KFD/RCMP Hats are being sold to help them.  The hats can be purchased for $20 at the downtown RCMP detachment. 11:14 am

Today's press conference was the last of the regular scheduled daily press conferences. 11:00 am

Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz are offering a free trip anywhere in Canada to families in the Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops areas whose primary residence has been destroyed by fire. This offer allows individuals or families to travel to other parts of the country to stay with family or friends if needed. Travel period is Aug 27 to Sept 30th.  See press release for more.  Aug 28 - 10:32 am

Suppliers who have supplied food, clothing and lodging to evacuees during the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire are asked to forward any invoices for goods and services issued through the Emergency Social Services program to:  Richard Parr, Ministry of Human Resources, 3685 Hoskins Road, Westbank, B.C. V4T 1P6 Full Press Release.  Aug 28 - 10:26 am

Moxie's Classic Grill will be hosting a BBQ Fundraiser this Saturday.   All money raised will go towards the Okanagan Mountain Fire Recovery Fund.  Moxie’s will offer burgers and soft drinks for only $3, and cheeseburgers and soft drinks for $3.50.  Aug 28 - 8:28 am  

Looking to forget about the fire for awhile?  Check out  Armstrong IPELinkAug 28 - 7:57 am

Another 1,338 residents will be able to return home today at noon in the Upper Chute Lake, Southridge, Stonebridge and Summerhill neighborhoods.  They will join the 10,400 who were allowed back to their homes yesterday in most parts of the Mission, East Kelowna and Rutland.  The 2,750 residents in the Kettle Valley, Curlew and southern parts of Uplands areas are expected to be let back home at 6 pm on Friday. Aug 28 - 7:11 am

Artist Darryl (DT) Taylor of the song "Time to Believe" has now released a fundraising CD. Proceeds raised go to the Red Cross's Fire Relief Fund.  Buy it online. Aug 28 - 6:30 am

The Kettle Valley Trestles are 100% intact.  Everything is being done to protect them.  Tourism ouch: Mayor assures tourists that Kelowna is still safe and many attractions are still open.  Looting during at the evacuation was at a minimum.  See these stories and more on our regular site. Aug 28  - 6:21 am

Our photo gallery continues to be updated daily.  It was updated very early this morning.  If you haven't seen the fire video since Monday, we suggest that that as well.  Aug 28 - 6:58 am

Owl Ridge Timber Framing Inc. would like to help where they can.  Having heard that there is a shortage of manufacturers and builders in the Kelowna area through CHMC, is offering a 10% discount on their home package for those who have lost their homes and plan on re-building. Owner Terry Klassen notes that they have also gone through the fires in the McGillvery Lake / Chase fires, though only 20 or so houses in the area were lost.  E-mail Terry Klassen or visit www.owlridgetf.com Aug 27  - 10:46 pm

The four Okanagan Coopers Foods locations have collected over $9,000 to date for the fire relief. Coopers Foods in Rutland will be hosting a pancake breakfast Saturday from 8-12 with the Rutland Lions Club, with all proceeds going to the fire relief fund. To date Coopers Foods has brought over 10 truck loads of food for the two relief centres and to the fire fighters.  Aug 27  - 10:07 pm

Fire T-Shirts will be for sale outside of Costco Thursday, Friday, Saturday.  They are $15 and proceeds go to the Fire Relief Fund.  Aug 27  - 5:44 pm

A new map is now available of the revised Evacuation Alert and Order areas as well as the leading edge of the fire.  (PDF 1MB Aug 27 - 4:00 pm

Returning residents should also read this very important document outlining safety precautions and hazards associated with areas affected by fire, services that might be of assistance and advice on how to handle the stress of the past week and a half.  Aug 27 - 3:38 pm

Amazing thermal photos of the fire as it progressed on Friday.  Infrared technology cuts through the smoke and shows what you otherwise would not have seen.  Aug 26 - 10:32 pm

Residents that are housing evacuees can put out up to four garbage bags or cans this week.  Aug 25 - 1:29 pm

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Wednesday August 27

The Monster From Flight Level 330 (Aug. 27 - 11:40 pm)
Flying One of Kelowna Flightcraft's 727s Over the Fire Night After Night and Watching the Fire Grow
It's 7:30 Wednesday evening as I taxi the Boeing 727 towards the active runway at Vancouver International Airport. Looks like it's going to be a nice night. As my crew and I take off towards Winnipeg we can't help but notice the amount of smoke lying stratiform across the entire province. Wildfires have been in the headlines for weeks and picking them out from the air is almost like a game being so far removed from it. "There are some big ones" said the First Officer as we identified some of the more than 800 fires burning in the province at the time. As dusk fell, the view from above was more ominous.... read the rest of Captain Dean Newhouse's Observations

RCA Reaches Out to Evacuees (Aug. 27 - 10:22 pm)
The Rotary Centre for the Arts extends a special invitation to evacuees, off-duty fire-fighters, relief workers, and all our other fire support heroes to come in and enjoy the entertainment. Every Thursday during the month of August the Centre has treated drop-in audiences to jazz in a café-style atmosphere with some high-calibre jazz talent. Food and beverages are served by Staccatos Bistro.

Sponsored by Grant Thornton, Sun FM, and other generous donors, Evenings of Cool Jazz features The Trevor Salloum Group, and showcases an up-and-coming jazz artist each week. This is the last Thursday for the jazz series, and the RCA has waived the $5 cover charge to offer evacuees and the support workers an entertaining evening out of the smoke.

In addition to the evening of jazz, the Centre is launching two weeks of free art sessions for evacuated children in the  hope that it will have a therapeutic effect for children affected by the fire. Parents, drop in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Painting and Drawing Studio of the RCA. Children will have the chance to interact with other children as well as professional artists such as Alex Fong, Gayle Liman, Donna Lee, and others. This program runs from September 2-10 inclusive on a drop-in basis.

Kelowna & Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund (Aug. 27 - 6:24 pm)
The City of Kelowna has established the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund to help rebuild lives and areas that were directly impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.  
Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19. Cheques should be made payable to the City of Kelowna Fire Recovery. Charitable donation tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.  The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund will be administered by a community based non-profit society that is currently being established.  The Fund will be used to assist those in need and for community projects such as parks and playgrounds in areas directly impacted by the fire. 

Lost Home Escorted Tour Thursday (Aug. 27 - 8:32 pm)
Residents who LOST homes in the South Lakeshore, Timberline, Rimrock and Swick Road areas are invited to attend an escorted tour of their community tomorrow.  Transit buses, including handi-dart buses, will leave the Trinity Baptist Church back parking lot at noon, 12:00 p.m. and will tour residents through their neighbourhoods. To gain access to the tour residents will be required to present picture ID and proof they live on one of the impacted streets. Media may not attend.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Staged Re-Entry Maps Now Available (Aug. 27 - 8:52 pm)
The Emergency Operations Center has released seven maps detailing the seven areas of staged re-entry.  Further instructions are pending as to when each of the areas will be allowed re-entry.  In the meantime, you may wish to use these maps to familiarize your self with what stage you are in:

Stage 1 Map (PDF 53KList of Streets (Crawford - Done today)
Stage 2 Map (PDF 45K)
Stage 3 Map (PDF 56K)
Stage 4 Map (PDF 78K)
Stage 5 Map (PDF 22K)
Stage 6 Map (PDF 11K)
Stage 7 Map Close (PDF 162K)  Wide (PDF 411K)

Lost Home Escorted Tour Thursday (Aug. 27 - 8:32 pm)
Residents who LOST homes in the South Lakeshore, Timberline, Rimrock and Swick Road areas are invited to attend an escorted tour of their community tomorrow.  Transit buses, including handi-dart buses, will leave the Trinity Baptist Church back parking lot at noon, 12:00 p.m. and will tour residents through their neighbourhoods. To gain access to the tour residents will be required to present picture ID and proof they live on one of the impacted streets. Media may not attend.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Kelowna & Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund (Aug. 27 - 6:24 pm)
The City of Kelowna has established the Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund to help rebuild lives and areas that were directly impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.  
Donations can be made at any Scotiabank branch in Canada to account number 80150-00058-19. Cheques should be made payable to the City of Kelowna Fire Recovery. Charitable donation tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.  The Kelowna and Area Okanagan Fire Recovery Trust Fund will be administered by a community based non-profit society that is currently being established.  The Fund will be used to assist those in need and for community projects such as parks and playgrounds in areas directly impacted by the fire. 

Looky Loos - Stay Out of Crawford Please (Aug. 27 - 5:17 pm)
There has been some concern expressed about the lifting of restricted access to the Crawford Estates subdivision.  The BC Fire Commissioner’s Office has lifted the Evacuation Order for those streets within Crawford Estates, because there is no longer any imminent wildfire danger.

With the lifting of the Order, the City of Kelowna has no legal authorization to restrict public access to the area.  The City is encouraging non-residents of Crawford Estates to stay out of the area, respecting the privacy of the residents of the subdivision.

Once the RCMP removes their road check at 8 pm (corrected time from 6 pm earlier), they will be making regular patrols of the area to ensure the safety and security of the neighbourhood.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Public Info Line Hours Change (Aug. 27 - 5:10 pm)
Please note that there has been a change in the hours of operation for the Public Info Line.  Effective today, operators are available to provide information from 6 am until midnight for those calling 869-0386.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Clarification of Staged Return (Aug. 27 - 4:54 PM)

The Emergency Operations Center has clarified the stage return area below. 

Everyone who was on evacuation order can go home except those who live in impacted areas in Uplands, Okaview, Kettle Valley, Swick Road, Timberline, Rimrock and along Lakeshore Road from Barnaby Road to the city limits.

The original news release said "from St. Hubertus Winery to the City limits" however this has now changed. The utility companies were not able to make the progress they had hoped, and so the road check has not been extended past Barnaby Road and Lakeshore Road.

In addition, people living in the June Springs Road area (south of the intersection with Jean Road), in Gallagher's Canyon and in the Harvard Road area are still on Evacuation Order due to the proximity of the leading edge of the fire. 

All residents who returned home today should remember they are on Evacuation Alert.

A map is now available of the revised Evacuation Alert and Order areas as well as the leading edge of the fire.  (PDF 1MB)


Staged Return to Homes for Evacuees
(Aug. 27 -12:08 pm)
The Evacuation Order governing the south eastern sector of the city has now been rescinded in the following areas:

Residents of the area north of Barnaby Road including Steele Road and Drummond Court in the Mission, and residents of the Belgo and Joe Rich areas in the east, will be permitted to return to their homes as of 12:00 p.m. today as the Evacuation Order has been lifted, but this area remains under Evacuation Alert. 

Between 4 pm and 8 pm today, residents of Crawford Estates will be permitted to return to their homes.  RCMP will staff road checks to ensure only residents of the Crawford Estates area are allowed in. After 6 pm the road check will come down and there will be unrestricted access.  People who do not live in the Crawford Estates area are asked to stay out of the area to reduce the potential of traffic congestion and confusion.

All residents returning to their homes remain on Evacuation Alert and must be prepared to leave should an Evacuation Order be put in place.  The Alert remains in effect for safety reasons.  Residents are advised that electrical power and natural gas service may not be available immediately. In addition, a precautionary Boil Water Advisory has been put in place for residents in these areas until all tests can verify that the water system was not compromised in any way. Water should be boiled for three minutes.

Day access is being authorized for residents of the Gallaghers Canyon Golf Course and subdivision and Field Road.  Access is granted from 12 pm to 6 pm today.   RCMP will be at the intersection of McCulloch Road and Mahonia Drive, checking for picture identification such as a drivers' license or other ID that clearly shows the individual lives in the area.   Access is for today only and will be re-assessed tomorrow.

The Evacuation Alert that has been in place over the past few days for areas north of Barnaby Road and Sarsons Road has been lifted.

City officials continue to develop a recovery plan for areas impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, and most residents will soon be permitted to return to their homes.

Evacuation Orders are still in place that cover much smaller areas including Southridge, Stonebridge, Arborview, June Springs, Okaview, Curlew, Kettle Valley, Gallaghers Canyon, Timberline, Rimrock and along Lakeshore Road from Barnaby Road to the city limits.

The new boundary of the Evacuation Order is as follows:
South East Kelowna Boundary - Start at Stewart Road W at the power line.  Follow power line to Stewart Road East.  Then North and East to Sallows Road.  On a line from the end of Sallows to the intersection of Baldock Road and Wallace Hill Road.  From the intersection of Wallace Hill Road and Baldock Road on a line North and East to the intersection of Sealy Road and Mathews Road.  The Streets Jaud Road and Prospect Road are outside of the evacuation area.  Then the line continues from the intersection of Mathews Road and Sealy Road to the intersection of McClain Road and June Springs Road. On a line from McLean Road and June Springs Road East and then North to the McCulloch Road to include Mahonia Drive.   East to the East side of Mahonia Drive Subdivision boundary North to Mission Creek.  Following Mission Creek east to City Boundary.  Then a line South to McCulloch then following McCulloch North to Hydraulic Lake Dam Entrance.  McCulloch Lake Road will be fully closed between Mahonia Drive and McCulloch Lake.  Then follow Forest Service Road South to 201 then west along OK Falls Forestry Road (201) to Chute Lake.

A map is now available of the revised Evacuation Alert and Order areas as well as the leading edge of the fire.  (PDF 1MB)

Crews with Aquila Networks Canada and Terasen are currently working to secure utilities damaged in the inferno, and restoration of services is already underway in some areas. City crews are removing dangerous trees on public property, and placing warnings on private property where numerous hazards exist such as burned out trees, remaining structural components and ash pits.   This work will continue for some time.

Officials with the Emergency Operations Centre and various agencies such as the utility companies are working together to develop a phased plan allowing residents to re-enter those areas that are still off limits and under Evacuation Order.   A time frame is being developed for a safe and orderly re-entry.   This depends on how quickly safety concerns are addressed and utility companies can ensure service. 

Residents are advised that electrical power and natural gas service may not be available immediately. In addition, a precautionary Boil Water Advisory has been put in place for residents in these areas until all tests can verify that the water system was not compromised in any way. Water should be boiled for three minutes. Media notification will be provided as soon as the Boil Water Advisory can be removed.  As well, the Boil Water Advisory that has been in place since last weekend remains in place until further notice for the more than 1,800 residential customers of the South East Kelowna Irrigation District. 

Returning residents should also read this very important document outlining safety precautions and hazards associated with areas affected by fire, services that might be of assistance and advice on how to handle the stress of the past week and a half.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.


Day Access for Gallagher's Residents
(Aug. 27 -12:08 am)
Day access is being authorized for residents of the Gallaghers Canyon Golf Course and subdivision and Field Road.  Access is granted from 12 pm to 6 pm today.   RCMP will be at the intersection of McCulloch Road and Mahonia Drive, checking for picture identification such as a drivers' license or other ID that clearly shows the individual lives in the area.   Access is for today only and will be re-assessed tomorrow.


Notes from this morning's press conference (Aug. 27 -11:40 am)
As of noon today, people will be allowed to go back to some areas.  Please wait on the full press release for full details.  This restores a large number of residents to their homes.  Looky-loos please "stay the hell out" of these areas so that traffic jams can be avoided and out of consideration for residents.  Power and gas may not be on in all areas.  There is a long list of potential hazards residents will have to watch out for when they go back.  City crews are trying to mark some of the hazards.  Returning residents should get their danger trees assessed.  These areas will still be on Evacuation Alert.

Crews continue mopping up small fires last night in the June Springs area.  The fire department is starting to send back fire fighters from other areas.  Utility companies are out there now trying to do their best to get things back hooked up.  The fire is still some distance from the Kettle Valley trestles.  However, if the lines don't hold, it will be difficult to fight fire if it comes close to the trestles.  

Overall from Forestry: There have been 2,025 fires to date.  771 are burning now.  179,497 hectares have been burned this year.  4,700 fire fighters now. 

Vaseux Lake Fire Update (Aug. 27 -12:36 pm)
Yesterday unexpected strong winds from the North West pushed up against the South East fire guards. Fire crews were able to keep the southern flank of the fire from the Vaseau Lake are which is where the power for the entire southern Okanagan is. The fire did come within 2 KM of the power source but is still safe for now. A further Evacuation Alert was extended to the HWY 7 E and Hwy 97 area, just for a precaution. Fire crews are expecting the same type of weather for today  (high winds in the afternoon). The main priority for today is to head off the fire as it nears the Vasaux Lake canyon as well as build a Guard by around Dutton Creek and Vaseax Lake.  They will be doing some back burn in that area so residents will be seeing more smoke.  The South Eastern portion of the fire near OK Falls and Hwy 97 near Vaseax Lake is stable and in the mop up phase. The fire is now 3000 hectares in size. There is a full forestry crew off 200 personnel working on the blaze as well as 80 fire department personnel. Ten more fire engines from other communities are coming in to work on the blaze today. There are 70 pieces of heavy machinery working on the fire as well as seven helicopters and water bombers are expected to join in today.
 

Update from Forestry (Aug. 27 -11:34 am)
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size, resources in place include 850 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 18 helicopters and 250 pieces of heavy equipment.

All critical control lines held yesterday afternoon and through the night even with the increased fire activity in the lower Bellevue Creek area.

Increased fire activity developed in the late afternoon yesterday causing an increase in smoke.  The spread of the fire was upslope to the south away from any structures.  The fire activity in the Bellevue Creek draw is not contained; this is an area that is very steep and heavily timbered.

The south sector around Chute Lake, Glen Fir and Indian Rock remained stable yesterday and last night.  Crews continue with mop up efforts in this area.

The north sector within the affected subdivisions south of Kelowna was also stable, with the mop up efforts continuing.  The north east sector around June Springs Road is still active, but control lines are holding at this time.  This sector remains an area of concern as there are structures in the area.  The control lines are continually reinforced by crews with air support and heavy equipment.

The Vaseux Lake fire is estimated at 2,800 hectares in size, resources include 203 fire-fighters, 7 helicopters and 70 pieces of heavy equipment.

Last nights strong winds caused the fire to spread just above the Vaseux drainage.  The control lines in the area held, and the fire advanced onto the ridge above Vaseux Creek but not into the main drainage.  Control lines have been established on the south west; west and north flanks to ensure the fire does not advance down slope toward the populated areas.  Crews are working along the ridge between Dutton Creek and the Vaseux drainage; control lines in this area have to be constructed using hand tools, as the terrain is too steep to allow the use of heavy equipment.

The road closures remain in effect, and security has been posted at the sites for public safety.

The weather forecast for the Okanagan area calls for sun and cloud, light winds and very low chance of showers later today.

It is important that people understand that wildfires, especially in the current timber dry conditions can be extraordinarily dangerous.  In addition to the large number of fires in tinder dry conditions, we are facing an unprecedented number of wildfires at or near population centers and residences.  All of British Columbia’s fire fighting resources are doing their best in a difficult situation.  Our resources are allocated daily, sometimes hourly, based on how aggressive the fires are, and the needs of each fire’s Incident Command Team.

See full Forestry press release here.

Escorted Tour Announced (Aug. 27 -10:42 am)
Residents who LOST homes in all areas except Crawford Estates, Lakeshore, Timberline, Rimrock and Swick Roads are invited to attend an escorted tour of their affected communities this evening at 6:30 p.m.  (This includes residents from the Uplands, Okaview, Viewcrest, Curlew, Lark, Chute Lake Road, Trumpeter, Stellar, Sandpiper, Southcrest, Killdeer, Frost and Kettle Valley areas.)

Transit buses, including handi-dart buses, will leave the Trinity Baptist Church back parking lot at 6:30 p.m. this evening (Wednesday) and will tour residents through their neighbourhoods. To gain access to the tour residents will be required to present picture ID and proof they live on one of the impacted streets. Media may not attend.

Conditions in the burned areas remain volatile. The utility companies are working to restore services such as gas and electricity and City staff is ensuring roadways, parks and private properties are safe as possible before residents return. All crews are working hard, and it is anticipated re-entry will be allowed soon.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Overnight Update (Aug. 27 - 6:30 am)
From the Emergency Operations Centre - South westerly winds flared fires on Tuesday evening but quietened through the night. Structural fire fighting crews continued to mop up spot fires in the Rim Rock and June Springs areas.

Emergency Operations Center and City officials are continuing to develop a recovery plan for the areas impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, and it is anticipated that residents will soon be permitted to return to their homes.

Aquila Networks Canada and Teresen Gas crews are working to secure utilities and restore services to the damaged areas. City crews will be removing dangerous trees on public property and placing warnings on private property where numerous hazards such as burned out trees, remaining structural components and ash pits may exist.

Residents who have been impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire are invited to an information forum on Thursday August 28th, from 12 noon through 8 pm in the Concourse of Skyreach Place, 1223 Water Street.  The session is open to all property owners who were affected by the fire.

Representatives from various departments of the City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan will be on hand, along with organizations such as the Interior Health Authority, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, local utilities and social agencies to answer residents’ questions.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Weather and Air Quality Forecasts  (Aug. 27 - 6:20 am)
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Local smoke. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h near noon. High 26. Air quality: 54 (poor) Tonight: Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Local smoke. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 9.  Air quality 60 (fair).

I THANKED A FIREFIGHTER
Wayne Bruce

When I got word from a friend that my house was still standing, I was instantly overwhelmed and feelings spilled over.

And as if in the same thought , Oh my god, I am so sorry for the others that have lost it all.

Heading back into town from our overnight refuge the grief felt by my family continued throughout the trip and would not stop.

I thanked a firefighter today for saving my house. Tears welled up as I tried to convey my gratitude.

Firefighters, police, ambulance personnel, emergency workers and volunteers.

Today, I thank a police officer. Truly I am overwhelmed .

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Aug. 27 Continuous Coverage


Fire T-Shirts will be for sale outside of Costco Thursday, Friday, Saturday.  They are $15 and proceeds go to the Fire Relief Fund.   (5:44 pm)

5 pm Press conference highlights  (5:22 pm)
There are six stages of reentry planned for the rest of evacuated residents.  Electricity isn't a problem in most areas but gas might be. 
They are aiming for Friday at 6 pm for last of Evacuees to go back.
5:17 pm

Vaseux Lake Thermal maps can be found here.  (Link) 5:17 pm

A new map is now available of the revised Evacuation Alert and Order areas as well as the leading edge of the fire.  (PDF 1MB 4:00 pm

Central Okanagan Academy requests that ALL families with enrolled children check their website immediately to get the latest information regarding the start of the school term.  Families of COA students in need of any assistance should feel free to call the school on (250) 764 1311. The school office is observing regular business hours. 4:00 pm

You can pick up your yellow ribbon now on the Westside at Extra Foods and Save On Foods. 3:51 pm

Returning residents should also read this very important document outlining safety precautions and hazards associated with areas affected by fire, services that might be of assistance and advice on how to handle the stress of the past week and a half.  3:38 pm

Pushor Mitchell Lawyers have release a Fire Insurance Claims Guide3:10 pm

Weinmaster Home Designs is offering a 25% discount to all of the fire victims on the over 2200 Canadian house plans available on their  website. 2:53 pm

An RCMP road block is set up at Chute Lake, Barnaby and Lakeshore Roads.  Residents living past this intersection are still under Evacuation Order.  There is a tour these residents can go on.  See the article in the left column for more.  12:32 pm

With the rescind order, 5,600 people (670 homes) remain on Evacuation Order and approximately 10,400 residents are allowed to return to their homes. 12:48 pm

Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray says residents evacuated from the undamaged Mission and East Kelowna areas will be allowed to return to their homes full-time today in an "orderly phase in".  However, those in the June Springs Road area will not be allowed to return.  Residents must wait for the official announcement which is expected to come at the 11 am news conference today.  9:26 am

Crawford Estates residents have set-up a web page to keep in touch.  Visit http://www.crawfordestates.net  The same will be in place shortly for the residents of the other three affected areas. 10:50 am

 

There were a number of 911 calls last night due to what Glenmore residents thought was smoke.  Turned out to be dust. 8:03 am

 

Traffic - there continue to be temporary stop signs at Enterprise and Dilworth.  Access to Enterprise Way behind the Fire Hall is not permitted. 7:29 am

Purolator Courier: Due to the fires in Kelowna and evacuations our couriers are unable to deliver freight to customers in the affected areas. We have been holding freight for the evacuees at our depot, but we are unable to contact a lot of customers as we only have access to home phone numbers. Freight for affected areas will be held at our depot at: Purolator Courier Ltd., 613 Adams Road (off Sexsmith Road at Reid's Corner), Kelowna, BC 250-765-9422 or 1-800-668-1774

The National Convenience Store Distributors Association has decide not to cancel its convention in Kelowna, September 13 to 16 to show their support for the people and economy of the Okanagan Valley.  7:00 am

Crews were kept busy last night with the early winds and mopping up spot fires.  No new structures were reported to be lost.  6:53 am

The Kelowna Adult Softball Association (KASA) is conditionally scheduled to go ahead and hold their 'KASA Annual Labour Day Weekend Mixed Slo-pitch Tournament at the Mission Kinsmen Quadplex and King Stadium Friday Aug. 29 through Monday Sept. 1 inclusive. Barring further emergency situations, the first games will begin at 6:00 Friday Aug. 29th. Championship finals are scheduled for 4:00PM Monday afternoon.  Tuesday 11:58 pm

A notice from the Waldorf School to students and parents: The 2003/04 school year has been delayed due to the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Classes for Pre-school, Kindergarten, and Grades 1 - 8 at the Collett Road and Cameron house locations are expected to start on Monday September 8th.  For more information and/or further updates please call the school at (250) 764-4130 or check the school web site at www.kelownawaldorfschool.com.  Tuesday 11:24 pm

Amazing thermal photos of the fire as it progressed on Friday.  Infrared technology cuts through the smoke and shows what you otherwise would not have seen.  Tuesday 10:32 pm

Information regarding Okanagan Mission Secondary programs can be found by clicking here. Tuesday 8:20 pm

New Okanagan Mountain fire extends image map Aug 26 - 6 am (PDF 170KVaseux Lake fire extends map.  Aug 25 - 5 am.(PDF 173K) Tuesday 4:20 pm

Newest thermal map of fire now available (Aug. 24 3 am).  (JPG 1.2 MB)  (PDF 3MB) More. Aug 26 - 3:55 pm

The video documenting the fire has been updated to document the destruction of 248 homes Friday night.  Tuesday 2:26 pm

Bard in the Vineyard is pleased to invite Kelowna Fire Evacuees to attend our performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at 7:30 pm at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Amphitheatre on Tuesday & Wednesday, August 26 & 27. A limited number of Complimentary Tickets will be available at the door from 6:30 pm. Please present Evacuee Registration. Information: 1-877-739-0559  Tuesday 2:08pm

Residents that are housing evacuees can put out up to four garbage bags or cans this week.  Monday 1:29 pm

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Tuesday August 26

Bellevue Creek Smoke/Fire Update (August 26 - 8:09 pm)
For Immediate Release August 26, 2003 2000 Hours Ministry of Forests
Active fire behavior is currently being experienced on the lower Bellevue Creek area due to extremely dry conditions, steep terrain and localized wind gusts.

At this time, no homes are immediately threatened as thefire continues to burn in a south-easterly direction away from Kelowna.

Helicopters and air tankers will be used to strengthen control lines south of the June Springs area. This is being conducted as a precautionary measure in the event of a wind shift from the south.

Heavy smoke and open flame may be visible from Kelowna well into the evening, depending on wind condition

Fire Recovery Forum Thursday At Sky Reach  (August 26 - 5:12 pm)
Residents who have been impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire are invited to an information sharing forum on Thursday August 28th, from 12 noon through 8 pm in the Concourse of Skyreach Place, 1223 Water Street.  The session is open to all property owners who were affected by the fire.

Representatives from various departments of the City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan will be on hand, along with organizations such as the Interior Health Authority, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, local utilities and social agencies to answer residents' questions. 

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

No Other Donated Goods Required 7:58 pm
As of noon, August 24, 2003, Gary Johnson of the Salvation Army, handed over responsibility for managing the goods donated for those affected by the forest fires in the Kelowna area, to Frank R. McMiller, Provincial Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA BC). 

On behalf of all those involved, including the public, Emergency Social Services (ESS), and numerous other agencies, ADRA BC would like to thank the Salvation Army for their contribution in handling the donated goods to date.  ADRA BC will continue the good work of the Salvation Army in the Okanagan area. 

At this time, no other donated goods will be accepted by ARDA BC for the Okanagan area until a thorough needs assessment has been completed.  At the appropriate time, ADRA BC will announce through the media, what goods that are required.

Anyone in the Okanagan area currently requiring assistance, can visit the distribution centre operated by ADRA BC located at 130 Gerstmar Rd. (southwest corner of Gerstmar and Hwy 33) during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Sunday to Friday), or call 250-860-5096.

Click here for the full press release.

KSS Reception Center is Shutting Down 3:06 pm  
One of the two Emergency Social Services Reception Centres in Kelowna will be closing.

As of 11 pm this evening, the Kelowna Secondary School centre will shut down its operation.

Emergency Social Services is turning the facility back to School District # 23 so it can begin preparing the school for the new school year, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 2nd.

Starting at 8 am tomorrow morning (Wednesday August 27th), all evacuees should report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre Evacuee Reception Centre, at 1800 Parkinson Way as services are being consolidated there.  Please park in the Parkinson Recreation Centre parking lot. 

Evacuees are reminded that tomorrow is the last day to re-apply for a 5 day extension for services provided through Emergency Social Services.  One member from each family must report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre and re-apply in person. 

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Escorted Tour for Crawford Residents This Evening 2:37 pm
Residents of the 68 lost homes in Crawford Estates (only) are invited to attend an escorted tour of their affected community this evening at 6:30 p.m.  Five transit buses, including one handi-cap bus, will leave the Trinity Baptist Church's back parking lot at 6:30 p.m. this evening (Tuesday) and will tour residents through the neighbourhood. Residents will be required to present picture ID and proof they live on one of the impacted streets to gain access to the tour. Media may not attend.

Conditions in the burned areas remain volatile. The utility companies are attempting to restore services such as gas and electricity and other crews are ensuring roadways, parks and private properties are safe before residents return. It is anticipated this restoration will take several days.

Other communities in the burned areas remain too dangerous for tours at this time. It is anticipated these communities will be assessed as safe for similar tours as early as tomorrow. Please listen to the media for similar announcements.

Additional arrangements will be made for those who are unable to attend tonight's tour.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Energizing the Fight; Powering Up the Recovery
Electrical Supply Rapidly Being Restored to Fire-Affected Areas (2:03 pm)
The main event – between fire fighters and the Okanagan Mountain fire – is going the distance.  As of this morning, the Forestry Service reports the fire 40 percent contained, a vast improvement over conditions several days ago, but the fight is far from over and continues on several fronts.

The under card is filled with support efforts that are also going the distance:  Emergency Social Services, the RCMP, the media, the SPCA to name a few. Among those closest to the front line are employees of Aquila Networks Canada, working in lockstep with fire crews, isolating electrical hazards from the fight while ensuring that pump houses are powered up to supply water on demand.

Aquila, like all others engaged in the battle, has established a war room.  Monitoring Okangan fires as they encroach on transmission lines, then substations, then distribution service within city limits.

“For the past week our emergency team has put in 16 and 18 hour days and never missed a beat.  They’ve been totally focused attuned to the hazards of every situation, protecting the fire fighters, themselves and residential properties every step of the way.  I’m very proud to be working alongside such a professional group of employees.  They’ve risen to the occasion,” said Kevin James, Okanagan Operations Manager and Commander of Aquila’s Emergency Operations Centre.

Over the past three days the attack has taken on a markedly different tone, shifting from defence to recovery.  Following is a power supply status report on all principal areas affected by Okanagan fires.

Kelowna – Penticton:  230kV Transmission Line
This is the primary supply line to the Penticton-Kaleden-Summerland area.  Out of service since Aug. 19.  Today Aquila received a permit from the Forestry Service to enter the area and begin rebuilding this important part of the Okanagan grid.  26 structures (poles, cross arms, etc.) are either on the ground or seriously damaged over a five-kilometer area.  The terrain poses an impediment.  Line crews and heavy equipment will be moved on site today and tomorrow.  The line is estimated to be back in service by Saturday, Aug. 30.
 

Oliver – Penticton:  163kV Transmission Line and two 60kV Sub-transmission Lines
These back up lines are carrying the service normally provided by the 230kV to Penticton.  On Friday, Aug. 22 a new fire ripped through the South Okanagan and disabled all three lines leaving some 60,000 people in “black out”.  In just over an hour Aquila crews had the 163kV line back in service, with “temporary” solutions, to ensure power was available for the South Okanagan firefight.

Click here for the full press release from Aquila.

Highlights from Today’s Press Conference (11:47 am)
The Okanagan Lake fire is still estimated to be 20,000 hectares.  There was no significant growth in the fire yesterday due to containment lines constructed and lack of wind.  The fire has a perimeter of 165 km.  60% of the fire is contained most on the southern flack on the lake and Naramata.  600 people are working the fire with 200 piece of heavy equipment, and eight helicopters.  Today efforts are focused on working the control lines and establishing new ones on the eastern portion. The fire spread continues to be away from Kelowna and its homes.

The Vaseux Lake fire is estimate to be 2,300 hectares in size.  There are 125 persons working on it with 5 helicopters and 22 pieces of equipment.  Crews are currently working in steep rugged terrain.  No other significant developments to report.

The spot fire in Summerland started yesterday was caused by lightening.  It is contained and is still being mopping up.

Fire Chief Gerry Zimmerman: It was a quiet night.  Mop up operations remain.  Main area of concern is June Springs Road area.  Two houses in the Crawford area were gelled overnight to protect them from flames.  In the next few days they'll re-evaluate some of the manpower and might send some out of town fire fighters home.  To evacuees - We’ll get you back in your homes as soon as it is possible.

There has been some frustration on the lines of the evacuated area between anxious residents and RCMP.  The Emergency Operations Centre is trying to arrange for a tour of the area for residents who lost their homes.  Utilities are now doing emergency work and an assessment of the evacuated areas.  The fire hazard is still very high in the forest interface areas.  The utilities in the affected areas will be up and running 3 to 4 days after it is safe to return.  It is still not safe to return.

There has been no significant rain in the Kelowna area since January.  Forests have been critically dry since June.  The August winds have caused problematic fire behavior. 

More Day Passes Allowed Today 10:30 am
Residents living in the below listed area wishing to obtain limited re-entry need to remember the following:

1. This re-entry will be between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

2. Roadcheck personnel will need to see a valid driver's licence (with photo) or other identification clearly showing that the individual(s) reside in this area. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY WAY TO GAIN ACCESS.

3. Access will only be allowed on Tuesday August 26, subject to daily reassessment.

Area for limited re-entry will be:

1. From a point on Okanagan Lake directly east to the intersection of Barnaby, Lakeshore Rd and Chute Lake Rd. Continuing east on Barnaby Rd including Drummond Crt to the intersection of Paret Rd. Continuing east to include the Steele Rd area. Running straight north at the base of the road, including Paret Cr. to the intersection of Dehart Rd and Swamp Rd. The northern line will run along the existing evacuation order line from the intersection of Dehart Rd and Swamp Rd west on Dehart Rd and Sarsons Rd to Okanagan lake. This area with the exception of Drummond Crt and Steele Rd were allowed in yesterday afternoon on temporary re-entry.

2. From the bridge crossing Mission Creek at the end of East Kelowna Rd, north on Hollywood Rd to Springfield Rd. East on Springfield Rd on Highway 33. South and East on Highway 33 to where Mission Creek crosses the highway just past Three Forks Rd. East and North on Mission Creek to the bridge on East Kelowna Rd.

3. Using the existing evacuation line, from the intersection of Gulley Rd and McCullough Rd. north and west on McCullough Rd to East Kelowna Rd. North and east on East Kelowna Rd to the bridge crossing Mission Creek. South and East on Mission Creek to the East side of Layer Cake Mountain. A straight line from the East of Layer Cake Mountain to the intersection of Field Rd and McCullough Rd west on McCullough Rd to the intersection of McCullough Rd of Gulley Rd and McCullough Rd

See these three limited reentry maps for further assistance.
Map 1 (PDF 110K), Map 2 (PDF 118K), Map 3  (PDF 82K)

Tuesday Weather (Tue. - 6:00 am)
Today .. A mix of sun and cloud. Local smoke. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon. High 28. Tonight .. Cloudy periods. Local smoke. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 11.  Air quality forecast: Today 6- (poor), tomorrow 41 (poor).

Another Good Night! (Tue. - 6:00 am)
Although there were several fire flares in the June Springs area and homes had to be "gelled" (a spray-on structural fire retardant), the fire was calm and crews were able to continue mopping up hot spots. The winds remained calm and the fire stayed within fire guards.

Although conditions have been calm for several days, all Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in place. The BC Forest Service says the fire is still volatile and affected by weather conditions. Conditions are presently being assessed and the Fire Commissioner will determine if residential re-entry permissions will be allowed into any Evacuated areas later today.

The Precautionary Boil Water Advisory issued on Friday August 22, 2003 for customers of the Black Mountain Irrigation District has been cancelled. Fortunately the disinfection process was never compromised during this advisory. There is no need for flushing or disposal of ice machine contents.

Orchardists and farmers are being allowed special day passes today (Tuesday) to tend to crops and harvests in the areas north of the powerline fire break, from the Summerhill Winery to June Springs Road and East Kelowna and the Belgo area. Maps of the area will be available when you obtain your pass.

Orchardists wishing to obtain day passes to enter evacuated areas should go to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan at 1450 KLO Road. Passes will be issued between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Passes will also be available at the Ministry of Agriculture Office at #200 1690 Powick Road between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., telephone: 861-7211.

Passes will only be provided with proper identification. A driver's licence will be required as well as vehicle licence plate numbers and the number of passengers in each vehicle. Labourers must travel with the farm operator who obtains the pass.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

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Aug. 26 Continuous Coverage


Some smoke noticed around Chute Lake area.  Fire officials warn that there are still some hot spots, and crews are still in the area taking care of these.  11:03 pm

The situation in the Shannon Lake area turned out to be less than suspected. Westside volunteer fire crews responded to what they thought was a fire between houses. it turned out to be nothing more than a lot of dust. 8:03 pm

Fire Crews in the South Okanagan continue to work on the Vaseux Lake Fire. There is a lot of smoke in the air around the fire this evening...that's the result of a planned backburn. Fire crews have laid down a retardant line up the slope from the Vaseux Creek drainage.  Three crews totaling about 60 men have dug a hard guard into the retardant line up the slope. They are hoping this will assisting securing the southern flank of the fire. 7:35 pm

The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire is spewing out quite a smoke show tonight. Ministry of Forest spokesman Darren Campbell says there is no need for alarm. The additional smoke is due partially to the fact the fire is moving into heavier timber areas in Bellevue Canyon...and partly due to stronger winds from the West. Control lines have been built between the fire and the southern reaches of the city.   Bellevue Canyon is South of June Springs.  7:30 pm

 

Donald Triggs, co-founder of Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate and Harry McWatters, founder of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery announced today that each winery will be donating $10,000 for a total of $20,000 to the Red Cross BC Fire Relief Fund to support those who have been affected by the Okanagan Valley’s recent forest fires. Full press release.  7:07 pm

Officials are investigating smoke between two homes in Shannon Lake on the Westside.  7:03 pm

More smoke seen coming from south Mission tonight as winds pick up and fire is blown in to high fuel areas.  Fire officials are on it.  6:02 pm

Other news - Kelowna killer gets sentenced today.  See page 3 of our regular site.

Three limited reentry mapsMap 1 (PDF 110K), Map 2 (PDF 118K), Map 3  (PDF 82K) Tuesday 2:27 pm

When a wildland fire threatens a community the Office of the Fire Commissioner, in consultation with the Ministry of Forests, implements four stages of alert, described here.  1:54pm

The Kelowna Chiropractic Centre on Enterprise Way in the Cooper Centre (a 1-2 minute drive from the Enterprise Way detachment of the fire department) is offering urgent chiropractic services to those involved in fighting the fires.  1:44pm

Tourism Whistler has offered free rooms at Whistler for those who lost their homes.  Link  12:49 pm

Ministry of Forests press release on the fire is here. 12:07 pm

If you don't know the status of your property, please call the Info Centre at 869-0386.10:42 am

The BC SPCA Kelowna Branch evacuated its shelter Friday evening as a precautionary measure, as the evacuation order was less than half a mile from the shelter. The shelter is open for emergencies only until further notice. Please call the shelter at 861-7722 if you need assistance. 9:30 am

Darron Campbell - Ministry of Forestry Update - There were some high elevation winds yesterday evening.  That pushed the fire into the canopy of the trees allowing the fire to again be visible to residents.  Campbell says they can cope with the 10-15 kph winds forecast for today.  The east flank area the fire has moved into is more operable which should aid efforts today.  Fireguards were placed in front of KVR trestles.  We can now consider 40% of fire to be contained. 7:35 am

Suspicious fire in slash pile off the Silver Star road posed a threat.  Was contained and brought under control. 7:04 am

Bruce Smith (Emergency Operations Center) Calm fires yesterday. It was a calm day and night.  The fire stayed within fire guards.  There were some spot fires in June Springs Road area that were contained.  Some homes were "gelled".  All Evacuation Orders and Alerts are all still in place.  The situation is still volatile.  6:55 am

The following poem penned by 9-year-old Carly:

Our Thanks to You

The fire grows,
Water flows,
Trees burn to ashes,
Firefighters dash to the flashes,
They have a thirst,
To put us first,
So here's a thanks!!

Important notice for students, parents and staff of Anne McClymont Elementary school here.  11:07:pm

Elke Mairs of "Canada for Visitors" has set up a chatroom for Okanagan Mountain Fire fire-fighters and their families.  The chatroom is password protected (the main firehall has it) and can be at: http://gocanada.about.com/gi/chat/cs.htm?rmnum=2  10:57:pm

Campers at the Scotch Creek campground at the North End of Shuswap Lake have been put on evacuation alert due to the Chase Fire. This is a precaution because there is just one way in and out of the campground. 9:58 pm

The Brent Lake Fire near Summerland is now been confirmed to be under control 8:35 pm

The Brick will have brand new twin- and queen-sized Serta beds available to donate to those who are offering their residence or have experienced any personal losses. Arrangements currently being made with the ADRA for distribution and requests. These beds will arrive into Kelowna on Thursday August 28, 2003. 7:18 pm

Allen Sharrington from Medi-cal Veterinary Diets has shipped a large quantity of pet food for evacuated animals to Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna. Clinics or organizations in need of food for evacuees can contact Fairfield at 860-6550 to arrange pick up. 7:15 pm

Media button has release a video on the fire. 4:43 pm

Canada Post is holding mail for evacuees only; it can be picked up at 750 Baillie Avenue between 7:30 and 3:30 p.m 4:08 pm

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Monday August 25

Property Maps Posted for Homeowners Affected by Fire  (Mon. 4:03 pm)
Please be advised operators at the Public Info Centre have information for those homeowners who may have a home affected by the fires of last week.  If you don't know the status of your property, please call the Info Centre at 869-0386.

Operators have the most recent information on street addresses that have been affected.  Residents are advised this information is only 95 % accurate, as identifying structures in burned areas is very difficult.   This information at the call centre will be updated daily.  Operators will also record any questions residents have. 

Residents may view property maps at both the Emergency Social Services reception centres (Parkinson Rec and KSS).  Affected property owners will be able to have their questions answered by filling out a request form, ensuring a prompt and accurate reply.

 

Day Passes to Evacuated Areas for Farmers (August 25 - 3:14 pm)
Farmers wishing to obtain day passes to enter evacuated areas should go to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan at 1450 KLO Road. Today passes will be issued between now and 4:30, valid until 8:00 p.m. this evening.

Subsequently if conditions are still safe passes will be issued between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the RDCO. Passes will also be available at the Ministry of Agriculture Office at #200 1690 Powick Road between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m, telephone: 861-7211.

Day passes will be issued for those areas north of the powerline firebreak from the Summerhill Winery to June Springs Road, and East Kelowna and the Belgo area. Maps of the area will be available where passes are obtained.

Passes will only be provided with proper identification. A driver’s licence will be required as well as vehicle licence plate numbers and the number of passengers in each vehicle. Labourers must travel with the farm operator who obtains the pass.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Some day passes to be issued - Monday, August 25th (August 25 - 12:00 pm)
Special day passes are being allowed for residents in the lower Mission area.

The area which the passes are permitted is described as follows:
From a point on Okanagan Lake directly east to the intersection of Barnaby, Lakeshore Road and Chute Lake Road. Continuing east on Barnaby Road to the intersection of Paret Road including Paret Road. Running straight north at the base of the hill to the intersection of DeHart Road and Swamp Road. The northern line will run along the existing Excavation Order line from the intersection of DeHart Road and Swamp Road west on DeHart Road and Sarsons Road to Okanagan Lake.

These are day passes only
Time: 12:00 noon to 6:00
Pass will be a Driver's Licence of other identification that clearly shows that you reside in this area.

Access will only be allowed for Monday, August 25, 2003 and will be re-assessed daily.

Press Conference Highlights (August 25 - 10:35 am)
Gerry Zimmerman - Fire Chief - RCMP and ambulance should also be thanked for their efforts.  This fire isn't over.  Out of town help offers, while appreciated, isn't required now.  Some growing concern over health of fire fighters.

Okanagan Mountain Fire is now 20,000 hectares.  There are 600 personnel working on it (350 military).  There are 200 pieces of heavy equipment equipment and 18 helicopters working on it.  Strong control lines in the north are now set-up.  The south portion near Naramata continues to hold.  Significant control lines are there now. They are mopping up hot spots. 

Vaseux Lake fire is now 2,300 Hectares in size. 125 firefighters.  22 pieces of heavy equipment. 5 helicopters.  They are seeing lots of active fire behavior.

See page 1 of our regular site for more details. 

Over Night Update - Another Good Night! (August 25 - 7:56 am)
Note correction bolded below. (9:38 am)  For two nights in a row winds were calm and fire fighters were able to keep the fire at bay. Conditions overnight were very smoky but fire fighters continued to knock down spot fires and keep the fire within fire guards. Calm wind conditions are expected today which will help those on the front lines and crews as they reinforce guards.

Although conditions are favourable all Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in place. The Evacuation Rescind for the estimated 3,600 people in the North Mission and the area north of Sarsons/Dehart, East Kelowna, north of Dehart and East Kelowna Road including Hall Road means those people can return to their homes today. However, those residents remain on Evacuation Alert and should be prepared to leave on short notice should the Alert be upgraded to an Order.

The modified Evacuation Order is now in place for all properties inside the following boundaries. From Okanagan Lake and Sarsons Beach, east on Sarsons Road to Dehart Road, following Dehart to the junction of Dehart and Casorso Road, then on a direct line northeast to the intersection of Spiers Road and Hart Road, continuing east on Hart, crossing Gulley Road to the junction of Hart Road and McCulloch Road, north on McCulloch to the junction of McCulloch Road and Dall Road, including Dall Road, west on McCulloch Road to the junction of McCulloch Road and East Kelowna Road, north and then east on East Kelowna Road, crossing the Mission Creek Bridge to the intersection of East Kelowna Road and Hollywood Road south, north on Hollywood Road south to the junction of Hollywood Road south and Springfield Road, east on Springfield Road to the junction of Springfield and Highway 33, south and east on Highway 33 to the Regional District of Central Okanagan boundaries, along the east and south boundaries back to Okanagan Lake.

.An estimated 19,400 Kelowna residents remain out of their homes. Another 21,600 people are still under Evacuation Alert.

Maps and lists of homes that were lost have also been posted at the Evacuee Reception Centres at Parkinson Recreation Centre and Kelowna Secondary School. People who would like to receive information on the status of their property by phone are asked to call the Public Info Line at 869-0386.

Emergency Social Services advises that Skyreach Place is now closed and is no longer accommodating evacuees. Instead, all evacuees needing group lodging are asked to go to Trinity Baptist Church on the corner of Springfield Road and Spall Road.

There has also been an extension granted for food, clothing and accommodation through the Emergency Social Services program.   At least one member from each registered family must re-register TODAY.  Those whose last name begins with the letter A through K will have to go to the Parkinson Recreation Centre, while those who have last names beginning with the letter L through Z must go to the Kelowna Secondary School.

Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

More Residents Allowed to Return Home (August 24 - 7:20 pm)
The Evacuation Order involving an estimated 3,600 people in the North Mission and the area north of Sarsons/Dehart, East Kelowna, north of Dehart and East Kelowna Road including Hall Road has been rescinded and is now under Evacuation Alert.  These people should be prepared to leave on short notice should the Alert be upgraded to an Order.

Please see the attached map and list of streets that have been removed from the Evacuation Order.  People who live on those streets are now able to return home and remain on Alert status.

Update - Residents who have an address on Dehart Road and Sarsons Road are now also allowed home tonight.  Click for the updated complete list.  9:45 pm

The BC Fire Commissioners Office modified the Evacuation Order to include all properties inside the following boundaries.  From Okanagan Lake and Sarsons Beach, east on Sarsons Road to Dehart Road, following Dehart to the junction of Dehart and Casorso Road, then on a direct line northeast to the intersection of Spiers Road and Hart Road, continuing east on Hart, crossing Gulley Road to the junction of Hart Road and McCulloch Road, north on McCulloch to the junction of McCulloch Road and Dall Road, including Dall Road, west on McCulloch Road to the junction of McCulloch Road and East Kelowna Road, north and then east on East Kelowna Road, crossing the Mission Creek Bridge to the intersection of East Kelowna Road and Hollywood Road south, north on Hollywood Road south to the junction of Hollywood Road south and Springfield Road, east on Springfield Road to the junction of Springfield and Highway 33, south and east on Highway 33 to the Regional District of Central Okanagan boundaries, along the east and south boundaries back to Okanagan Lake.

.An estimated 19,400 Kelowna residents remain out of their homes.  Another 21,600 people are still under Evacuation Alert.

The Evacuation Order has been changed so that the Sutherland Hills Rest Home in the 3,000 block of Hall Road is now on Alert status.  For the health and safety of the home’s 100 residents, they will remain in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Alexander Wing and Gateby Intermediate Care facility until the Alert is rescinded.  At that time they will be returned to Kelowna by BC Ambulance paramedics, Interior Health Authority and Handi-dart vehicles.  The BC Ambulance Service is working with management of the Home on an orderly transfer plan.

This afternoon a meeting was held for property owners in neighbourhoods that were affected by the devastating fire that swept through south eastern city neighbourhoods on Thursday and Friday night.  Residents viewed maps and lists outlining which properties were saved and those that firefighters were not able to prevent from being destroyed by the blaze.  That information may not be complete as crews have not yet been able to assess all the areas that were involved in the fire.  Residents have been offered the services of specially trained counsellors to help them through their loss.  As well, Emergency Social Services and RCMP/Victim Witness Services volunteers have offered their support.   Maps and lists of homes that were lost have also been posted at the Evacuee Reception Centres at Parkinson Recreation Centre and Kelowna Secondary School.   People who would like to receive information on the status of their property by phone are asked to call the Public Info Line at 869-0386.

Emergency Social Services advises that as of 5 pm this afternoon, Skyreach Place has been closed and is no longer being used to accommodate evacuees.  Instead, all evacuees needing group lodging are asked to go to Trinity Baptist Church on the corner of Springfield Road and Spall Road. 

There has also been an extension granted for food, clothing and accommodation through the Emergency Social Services program.   At least one member from each registered family must re-register tomorrow.  Those whose last name begins with the letter A through K will have to go to the Parkinson Recreation Centre, while those who have last names beginning with the letter L through Z must go to the Kelowna Secondary School.

Rescind of Evacuation Order to Alert Status

 

 

 

for portions of North Mission and East Kelowna (Hall Rd.)

 

As of Aug. 24th, 2003    Updated 9:45 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street Name

Specifics (unless all the street)

 

 

 

Alberta Ct.

 

 

 

 

Armour Ct.

 

 

 

 

Arrowhead Ct.

 

 

 

 

Balsam Rd.

 

 

 

 

Belmont Rd.

 

 

 

 

Berard Rd.

 

 

 

 

Bewlay Rd.

 

 

 

 

Bluebird Rd.

 

 

 

 

Bray St.

 

 

 

 

Casorso Rd.

(south of Mission Creek)

 

 

 

Christian Ct.

 

 

 

 

Coryell Rd.

Dehart Road

 

 

 

 

Del Monte Ct.

 

 

 

 

Del Monte St.

 

 

 

 

Dunsmuir Rd.

 

 

 

 

Dunster Rd.

 

 

 

 

Dunvegan Ct.

 

 

 

 

East Kelowna Rd.

(west and north sides only)

 

 

 

Edinburgh Ct.

 

 

 

 

Eso Ct.

 

 

 

 

Fairhall Rd.

 

 

 

 

Gordon Dr.

(Mission Creek to Dehart Ave.)

 

 

 

Greene Rd.

 

 

 

 

Gulley Rd.

 

 

 

 

Hall Rd.

 

 

 

 

Hart Rd.

(west side only)

 

 

 

Haug Rd.

 

 

 

 

Hazell Rd.

 

 

 

 

Hobson Rd.

(Sarsons to Lakeshore)

 

 

 

Hughes Rd.

 

 

 

 

Jackson Ct.

 

 

 

 

James Rd.

 

 

 

 

Kensington Dr.

 

 

 

 

Kentucky Pl.

 

 

 

 

Kirby Ct.

 

 

 

 

KLO Road

(Mission Creek to McCulloch)

 

 

 

Lakeshore Rd.

(Mission Creek to Dehart Ave.)

 

 

 

Lequime Rd.

 

 

 

 

Lexington Dr.

 

 

 

 

Logie Ct.

 

 

 

 

Lysons Cr.

 

 

 

 

Manitoba Pl.

 

 

 

 

Maquinna Rd.

 

 

 

 

Mariposa Ct.

 

 

 

 

McCulloch Rd.

(south side and west of Hart Rd.)

 

 

 

Metcalfe Ave.

 

 

 

 

Neid Rd.

 

 

 

 

O' Reilly Ct.

 

 

 

 

Old Meadows Rd.

 

 

 

 

Oliver Rd.

 

 

 

 

O'Reilly Rd.

 

 

 

 

Packers Ct.

 

 

 

 

Packers Rd.

 

 

 

 

Paret Pl.

 

 

 

 

Pimlico Rd.

 

 

 

 

Radant Rd.

 

 

 

 

San Juan Ct.

 

 

 

 

San Michelle Ct.

 

 

 

 

San Michelle Rd.

 

 

 

 

Santa Anita Pl.

 

 

 

 

Saratoga Pl.

Sarsons Road

 

 

 

 

Short Rd.

 

 

 

 

Simeon Ct.

 

 

 

 

Spiers Rd.

(KLO to Hart Rd.)

 

 

 

Swamp Rd.

 

 

 

 

Tomby Ct.

 

 

 

 

Torrs Ct.

 

 

 

 

Torrs Rd.

 

 

 

 

Tozer Ave.

 

 

 

 

Tozer Ct.

 

 

 

 

Turner Ct.

 

 

 

 

Turner Rd.

 

 

 

 

Ward Rd.

 

 

 

 

Welke Rd.

 

 

 

 

Wildwood Rd.

 

 

 

 

Wilms Rd.

 

 

 

 

Woodland Cr.

 

 

 

 

Young Rd.

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for the Rescind Order Map (PDF 443K)
Click here for the revised Evacuation Order Map (PDF 1.3MB)
Click here for the full press release from the Emergency Operations Center.

Skyreach Place No Longer Accepting Evacuees (August 24 - 4:40 pm)
In conjunction with the Emergency Center it has been determined that Skyreach Place is not necessary for the current level of evacuees.
As of
5:00pm on August 24, 2003 Skyreach Place will no longer be accepting evacuees.  Evacuees currently at Skyreach Place and those that require temporary shelter are transferring to Trinity Baptist Church located at the corner of Springfield and Spall.  The address is 1905 Springfield.

Skyreach Place will be made immediately available to the Emergency Services Center for the purpose of sheltering evacuees should the situation change.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people that have lost their homes or are currently out of their homes.

Ministry of Forestry Fire Update (August 24 - 12:40 pm)
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 19,600 hectares in size, resources in place include 330 fire-fighters, of which 150 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 140 pieces of heavy equipment.  In addition air tankers are available to provide support as long as the current favourable weather and smoke conditions prevail.  Heavy smoke does limit the use of air tankers.

The fire still remains very active in the north east sectors, but no significant runs occurred yesterday.  Control lines have been established in this sector and this work is continuing with heavy equipment today.  In these northern sectors, which are in south Kelowna area, both Ministry of Forests and military crews worked along side with the local fire department to extinguish hot spots in subdivisions and around homes.  Helicopter bucketing is being used extensively to support this activity, and air tanker support will continue today to establish retardant lines.  In the southern sectors the fire activity remains stable allowing crews the opportunity to beef up the control lines.

Fire crews will work toward containing the fire, and continue to provide protection for structures and safety of all fire line personnel.  In addition, aggressive mop-up and patrol for the southern sectors remains a priority. The cooperation amongst the agencies remains high and the Incident Commander of the Fire Command team continues to stress safety first for all the crews working on the fire.

Yesterday the winds were lighter than expected, and were generally from the north west.  Today’s weather forecast is sunny with cloudy periods, slightly cooler temperatures, but little humidity.  The winds will be strong enough that there is the potential for aggressive fire behavior during the peak of the burning period in the denser timber types.  Winds are expected to increase again in the afternoon with gusts to 35 kilometers per hour.

We would like to thank the public and communities in the Okanagan for their over-whelming support.  It is appreciated and it does help.  Our thoughts are with those families that will learn about the loss of their homes today.

Click here for a full press release.

No Day Passes Today For Evacuees - Conditions Still Not Safe (August 24 - 12:15 pm)
From the Emergency Operations Centre - Officials in the Emergency Operations Centre are continuing to plan and strategize on all aspects of the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.

Staff is well aware of the desire of many residents who have been forced out of their homes through the Evacuation Orders to return even temporarily.  The Evacuation Orders and Alerts are under constant review, but at the present time No Day Passes are being issued for re-entry into these areas as public safety remains paramount.   When Incident Command knows conditions are safe, media will be advised of any change in the status of Day Passes.

Staff from the City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan has worked as quickly as possible to gather specific information regarding those properties affected by the fire’s advance on Friday night.   This afternoon at 1:30 pm those residents identified by street addresses that have been made public have been invited to a meeting at Trinity Baptist Church.  It’s believed up to 600 property owners could attend the session:  all are residents of the specifically affected streets in the Okaview, Chute Lake Road, Crawford Estates, Swick/Rimrock Road and the South Lakeshore areas.  To coincide with this 1:30 pm meeting, maps and lists of affected properties will be posted at the Parkinson Recreation Centre and Kelowna Secondary School reception centres, as well as at Skyreach Place, which is being used for temporary accommodation.

The Emergency Operations Centre is working on the initial phase of a recovery plan to assist residents whose properties have sustained damage or were not able to be saved.  This includes but is not limited to things like shelter, clean-up, restoring essential services and rebuilding the affected neighbourhoods.  This is not a short-term program and could last more than one year.

Emergency Social Services volunteers continue their outstanding effort in assisting the thousands of residents who have been forced from their homes.  Of immediate importance is the likelihood that there will need to be another five day extension in the accommodation arrangements for many of the evacuees.  Tomorrow is the day that the present arrangement runs out.  A further extension would require at least one member from each family who has ESS arranged accommodation to re-register tomorrow.  Those whose last name begins with the letter A through K will have to go to the Parkinson Recreation Centre, while those who have last names beginning with the letter L through Z must go to the Kelowna Secondary School.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center

Revised Count of Homes Affected  (August 24 - 10:21 am)
Officials have revised the total count of homes affected from the 203 estimated yesterday to 244 today.

Ministry Update on Fires in the Central Okanagan (August 25 - 3:13 pm)
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,000 hectares in size, resources in place include 600 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 18 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.  Air tankers will provide support as required and as smoke conditions allow.

Although this fire is still not contained, yesterday’s light winds resulted in stable fire conditions and a decrease in fire activity.  Crews continue to put out small flare-ups as part of the mop-up efforts along the north boundary within the affected subdivisions.  The fire remains active in the north east sector near June Springs road.  Heavy equipment and helicopter bucketing is being used to support the fire fighters in establishing control lines in the area.  Crews have made good progress in maintaining control lines and establishing new ones.  The southern sector remains stable with all control lines holding.  If the winds remain quiet over the next few days, burning off to strengthen the control lines will be utilized.

Fire crews and officials will actively work towards containing the fire with the favorable weather conditions expected today.  The forests are extremely dry and weather conditions could change which would result in a change in the level of fire activity. 

The Vaseux Lake fire is estimated at 2,300 hectares in size, resources include 133 fire-fighters, 5 helicopters and 22 pieces of heavy equipment.

Fire behavior was very active particularly on the eastern and north eastern sides.  Crews established control lines along the 201 Forest Service Road and were burning off to reinforce the control line.  Considerable fire activity was visible.  With the support of air tankers the crews were successful in limiting the advance of this fire.   Control lines have been established and secured on the southern, western and northwestern  flanks of this fire, which is the sections of the fire that are closest to populated areas.  The fire did enter Dutton Creek Canyon; containment in this area is an important objective.

As a result of this fire the following road closures are in effect:

Allendale Forest Service Road at the Okanagan Falls dump;
Road 201 at the Weyerhaeuser mill
Road 200 from the Rd201 to the Dutton (McIntyre Creek) intersection
Dutton Creek Road (McIntyre Road) at Highway 97.

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Aug. 25 Continuous Coverage


Wendy & Steve from Eagle Self Storage, Rob from U-Haul and Ron & Terrie-Lynn Chmelyk wish to say a huge thank you to the people of Westside, Westbank, Peachland and beyond for their most generous donations to the fire evacuees.  The biggest truck U-Haul has plus a twelve foot trailer were filled to the roof with many needful items which were delivered to The Old Revelstoke Lumber Warehouse on Monday!  10:49 pm

New fire spotted in the  Brent's Lake area between Summerland and Penticton. The fire is on First Nations Land, and at the present time poses no threat to either Summerland or Penticton.  Ground crews, with the assistance of the Mars Bomber and helicopters are working on this latest Okanagan fire. Aug 25 - 6:54 pm

Winds picking up: Darron Campbell, information officer with the BC Forest Service says increased winds later this evening could mean more fire activity in the North East sector of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.  The fire in that area has been very active all day, although with light winds, the activity has been concentrated closer to the ground. An increase in wind will likely move the fire higher up in the trees, making it more visible from all parts of the city.  Winds are expected to be from the South West at  20kph. Aug 25 6:29 pm

Total number of homes destroyed by the fire has been updated from 244 to 248. Aug 25 4:09pm

A number of Whistler accommodation properties are offering assistance to the fire victims and evacuees. Participating properties will provide accommodation on a complimentary basis while the evacuation order is in place, based on availability at time of booking.  Kelowna residents requiring accommodation simply need to call Tourism Whistler's toll-free central reservations line at 1-800-WHISTLER and identify themselves as a Kelowna resident from the affected area. Upon check-in at the hotel, identification will be requested to confirm home address. Aug 25 4:07pm

The Public Health Office has advised for public health safety that home-made food cannot be accepted at the City of Kelowna Fire Hall, the Parkinson Recreation Centre and Kelowna Secondary School Reception Centres or Trinity Baptist Church. Aug 25 3:24pm

The Sindi Hawkins and Friends golf tourney for cancer research originally set for Gallagher's has been moved to The Bear and will be held on Friday, Aug 29 starting at 1:30. Half of the proceeds will be donated to the fire relief fund.  Aug 25 3:15pm

The boil water advisory for Black Mountain Irrigation District has been lifted.  The advisory remains in place for the S.E. Kelowna Irrigation District.  Aug 25 2:55pm

Barnaby Road residents are allowed back on the day pass too until 6 pm. Aug 25 2:32 pm

Spot fire spotted just north of Glenmore landfill is out!  Residents used hoses, shovels and picks to put it out. Aug 25 11:54 am 

Councilor Barrie Clark - It's not safe to go back.  Winds could blow the fire back at any time.  There are hundreds of hot spots.  Make arrangements to be away from home for at least another week.  Utility companies have to go back first.  It will take at least three days for utility companies to check services when it is safe for them to enter the area. Aug 25 9:53 am

Residents entering Evacuation Order are causing officials lots of problems.  Stay safe - help officials - stay out.  Aug 26 9:18 am

The SD23 Teacher Workshop scheduled for today has been cancelled.  The other workshops this week will still go ahead.  Students are still scheduled to go back to school Tuesday Sept 2nd. For schools that are currently under Evacuation Order, teachers should consult their principals for instructions. Aug 25 7:34 am

Enterprise Road behind the fire hall remains closed.  Aug 26 7:36 am

Bruce Smith Fire Update - Cool and calm over night.  Third good night in a row.  Fire guards are being built to keep June Springs and power lines separate.  No plans at this point for more Evacuation Alerts or OrdersOfficials haven't been able to safely get to all impacted areas to do damage assessment as fire is still  active in the City.  Could be more destroyed homes.  .  Aug 25 7:34 am

What water supply am I on?  Find out online. Aug 25 7:16 am

Comment made at news conference yesterday - we would need five days of straight rain to make a difference to the fire. Aug 25 6:50 am

Quick stats: The Kelowna Rockets training camp will go ahead Thursday.  Aug 25 6:33 am

It was a quiet night.  No major fire growth.  There was virtually no wind.  16 firefighters stayed on the fire overnight putting out spot fires.  Police road blocks are still in place in evacuated areas this morning.  We are gathering more information to post.  Aug 25 6:32 am

Updated Evacuation order map as of 4:30 pm August 24.  (PDF 1MB) Aug 25

Residents asked to wear yellow to show support for fire fighters.  Businesses are urged to change signs to read  "Thank you fire fighters".  Aug 25 - 6:17 am

 

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Sunday August 24

More Residents Invited to Attend Information Meeting  (August 24 - 9:43 am)
Residents of Canyon View Court, Canyon Falls Court and Elridge Court have been invited to attend the information meeting that has been arranged for residents who believe their properties were damaged in the wildfire which swept through the south end of the City Friday night.

The meeting will be held Sunday August 24th at 1:30 pm in Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Road (the corner of Springfield and Spall).  Out of respect for property owners, this meeting is only open to accredited residents and is closed to the media.  Identification will be required for access to the meeting.

Morning Update From The Emergency Operations Centre (August 24 - 8:40 am)
Cooler temperatures and calm winds overnight helped firefighters clean up hot spots and push the fire back. Exhausted but hopeful firefighters are reporting that the wind is now pushing the fire back on itself. This is aiding their efforts to control the fire's encroachment on the City of Kelowna city limits. Fire guards are presently being constructed to allow a back burn on the east side of the fire.

At 8:20 a.m. on Saturday night the Fire Commissioner's office issued an Evacuation Order Rescind for the residents living north and on Highway 33 East. The area includes the upper Rutland bench, Joe Rich/Ellison and the Postill Lake area. Residents are allowed to return to their homes this morning, but will remain on Evacuation Alert, meaning they must continue to be ready to evacuate if the fire behaviour changes. Residents living south of Highway 33 will not be allowed home at this time.

There have been no additional changes to the Evacuation Orders and Evacuation Alerts issued by the Fire Commissioner earlier this week. The Fire Commissioner is presently reviewing the fire position and assessing the safety impacts to each neighbourhood. If any Evacuation Orders or Alerts change of if day passes will be issued, residents will be notified immediately through the media.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center

Low Winds , Cool Conditions Aid Fire Fighting Efforts Overnight  (August 24 - 8:35 am)
The Okanagan Mountain Park fire seems to be moving up the hill in the North east corner. But heavy smoke in the valley is making it difficult to get an accurate picture this morning. One of the Information Officers at the Kelowna Operations Centre says there were couple of flare ups overnight in the South Ridge and Frost Road area. Bruce Smith says fire crews have been working through the night putting out spot fires and are now building a fire guard behind the June Springs Road area. That guard where the fire is slowly advancing, is between the subdivision and the main power line to Kelowna. The weather has been a lot cooler overnight which is good for fire crews and those evacuated from their homes. The more favourable conditions mean some residents will be able to return to their homes after the lifting of an evacuation order last night. Smith cautions though that residents are still on alert and advises them to not unpack everything yet.

Meanwhile Smith says the fire on the Westside is contained but still burning. Westside fire crews are at the Riverside log area on Bear Creek Main logging road, where the fire broke out about 2:30 Saturday afternoon. Smoke was very visible from Kelowna Saturday afternoon and evening. A helicopter with a water bucket and a water bomber were used to fight the blaze. Crews are optimistic they will be able to put it out.

Today's Forecast  (August 24 - 6:43 am)
Forecast 5 am.  Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind light becoming west 10 to 15 km/h this afternoon. Local smoke dissipating this morning. High 25. Tonight - Cloudy periods. Wind light. Local smoke. Low 8.  Tuesday has 30% chance of showers.  Poor air quality this morning.

Information for Property Owners Who Believe Their Homes Were Damaged Friday Night By The Okanagan Mountain Fire.   (August 24 - 9:38 pm)
An information meeting has now been arranged for residents who believe their properties were damaged in the wildfire which swept through the south end of the City Friday night.

The meeting will be held Sunday August 24th at 1:30 pm in Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Road (the corner of Springfield and Spall).

Out of respect for property owners, this meeting is only open to accredited residents and is closed to the media.

Identification will be required for access to the meeting.  Only those property owners living on the following streets will be allowed inside the meeting:

Okaview/Chute Lake Rd.  (range of addresses affected)

 

  • Chute Lake Rd. (5127-5399)
  • Cobble Cr. (5160-5170)
  • Curlew Ct.
  • Curlew Dr. (445-461, odd street numbers only) (500-565 even and odd)
  • Frost Rd. (5030-5110)
  • Kildeer Rd.
  • Lark St. (all)
  • Okaview Rd.
  • Renwick Ct.  (all)
  • Sandpiper St.
  • Shiela Cr.
  • Stellar Dr. (even #s)               
  • Tulameen Rd. (odd#s)
  • Trumpeter Rd.
  • Uplands Dr. (odd #s)
  • Viewcrest Ct. (odd #s)
  • Viewcrest Rd.

 Crawford

  • Canyon Ridge Cr. (all)
  • Canyon Ridge Ct. (all)
  • Mid Ridge Ct. (all)
  • Parkridge Pl. (all)
  • Parkridge Dr. (4775-4847)
  • Stewart Rd. E. (4640-4710)
  • Stewart Rd. W. (4665-4820)
  • Westridge Dr. (Westridge Ct. to Stewart Rd. W.)
  • Woodridge Rd. (all)
  • Woodridge Ct. (all)

 Swick/Rimrock

  • Rimrock Ct.
  • Rimrock Rd.
  • Swick Rd.
  • Timberline Rd.

 South Lakeshore

  • Lakeshore Rd. (5325-5335)
  • Lakeshore Rd. (5508-5560)

Staff from both the City of Kelowna and Regional District has been working hard to provide as much information as quickly as possible to assist residents living in areas affected by last night’s fire.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center

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Aug. 24 Continuous Coverage


Penticton Power: The main power line is down because of the Okanagan Mountain Fire and the backup power is threatened by the Vaseux Lake fire meaning intermittent power outages.  Be safe - use flashlights not candles. Aug. 24 -11:36 pm

The Ministry of Agriculture is scheduling reentry for some Macintosh Apple growers to tend to their crops. Aug. 24 -11:36

Chute Lake Lodge is still standing.  Aug. 24 -10:46 pm

Residents who have an address on Dehart Road and Sarsons Road are now also allowed home tonight.  Click for the updated complete list.  Aug. 24 -9:45 pm

Eagle Self Storage continues accepting donations thru Monday Aug. 25, from 10 - 5. The donation drop-off location is at 2231 Moose Rd. Aug. 24 -9:25 pm

Sunday Thermal Images Available
Click here for the thermal images (PDF 440K)

Sunday Revised Maps Available
Click here for the Rescind Order Map (PDF 443K)

Click here for the revised Evacuation Order Map (PDF 1.3MB)

We had to pull the list of properties damaged by the fire while corrections are made.  Our apologies, and we will post the corrected list as soon as it is released.  Aug. 24 -6:26 pm

A map (PDF 321K) of the damaged areas and properties affected has been released. Please note the list and map reflect the best information to date, but the number of properties damaged could still change. Aug. 24 -5:21 pm

Chrétien press conference -  No specific commitment of funding yet.  Aug. 24 -4:38 pm

Photos of the damaged area from today's media tour have now been posted as are photos that were send to us Sunday Aug. 24 -4:43 pm

Fire near Wilkenson Lake at Beaverdell is a controlled burn back - not a new fire. Aug. 24 -3:51 pm

Boaters finally get the message.  Few boaters south of the bridge. Aug. 24 -3:49 pm

House loss residents described as brave after information meeting - gave officials standing ovation for their efforts.  Aug. 24 -3:49 pm

Kelowna General Hospital has advised medical staff within Interior Health to divert new referrals or transfers of patients from outside hospitals to alternative facilities where possible.  Kelowna General Hospital has also cancelled elective surgeries for Monday August 25. Kelowna General Hospital Emergency Department continues to operate as usual. Link. Aug. 24 -3:39 pm

International media coverage of the fire. Link. Aug. 24 -3:13 pm

RCMP are considering the right side of Highway 33 (south bound) to be under Evacuation Order - the left side to be on Evacuation Alert.  Evacuation Order residents can not return. This is an update to the rescinded Evacuation Order last night. Aug. 24 -2:37 pm

"Thank you fire fighters" sign in style of Hollywood's sign appears on Dilworth mountain.  Business with signs encourage to change their message to say the same.  Photo. Aug. 24 -2:27pm

A poem about the fire by DJ Streilein, Age 14. Aug. 24 -2:24 pm

The SPCA is open to take in animals, but they will not be kept at the shelter. The animals will be sent to foster homes immediately. Aug. 24 -2:10 pm

Yesterdays Westside fires, "under investigation."  Aug. 24 -2:04 pm

New thermal map from last night available. GIF (1.2 MB) (PDF 3.8MB) Aug. 24 -1:43 pm

The Prime Minister is now landing in Kelowna. He will be taking a helicopter ride of the damaged areas, visit the reception centres, visit the military at Apple Bowl, and then wrap up with a press conference at the Ramada at 4:30 today. Aug. 24 -1:27 pm

New evacuation order map as of Saturday night at 9 pm available. (PDF 1MB) Aug. 24 -12:24 pm

The whole upper Mission has not been destroyed. It's not a moonscape. There are bad areas.  It will be rebuilt. Aug. 24 -12:23

When can we go back home?  When it is safe.  Evacuation Order areas are still at risk.  A re-entry plan is being prepared.  The utility companies must get in there first - before the residential reentry. Aug. 24 -12:11 pm

Fire chief - no significant fire runs over night. No structures were lost last night.  The control lines have been maintained. Good progress on the north side of fire now working on the east side.  Firefighters are tired but not giving up. More reinforcements coming.  Aug. 24 -12:03 pm

There may be intermittent power in the South Okanagan.  Make sure you have batteries for your radio.  Aug. 24 -11:47 am

Morning air pictures from Castanet's Nick Frost are now available.  Aug. 24 -11:43 am

Out of respect for the evacuees who lost their homes, Castanet and Silk FM will not be interviewing property owners after the 1:30 pm meeting today.  We urge others to do the same.  Aug. 24 -10:50 am

Bear Creek fire has been contained, but is still burning. Aug. 24 -10:24 am

There were flare ups overnight in the South Ridge and Frost Road areas. Aug. 24 -10:24 am

The SILK-FM Yellow Ribbon Campaign has raised $10,080 as of 10 pm Sunday.  Yellow ribbons for your car or lapel are available by donation at SILK FM on 1598 Pandosy or from Tim Hortons on Highway 97 and Water.  All proceeds from the Yellow Ribbon Campaign are going to the Red Cross Victims Relief Fund Aug. 24 - 6:17 am

Darryl (DT) Taylor wrote and produced a moving song "Time to Believe" Darryl has family that has been affected by the fire in the Crawford Estates area. He dedicates "It's Time to Believe" to a community that has come-together and made him a believer.  The song is Darryl's way to thank the incredible "new family" that has come together to aid the ones in need. He wrote the song just over a year ago. Aug. 24 -9:31 am

Monday's Weather Forecast:  Becoming cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers in the evening. Local smoke dissipating late in the day. Wind light. High 27. UV index 5 or moderate.  Link to Environment Canada.  Aug. 24 -6:53pm

The SILK-FM Yellow Ribbon Campaign has raised $7,380 since 6pm Saturday evening. Yellow ribbons for your car or lapel are available by donation at SILK FM on 1598 Pandosy or from DJ's Mobile at Tim Hortons on Highway 97 and Water.  All proceeds from the Yellow Ribbon Campaign are going to the Victims Relief Fund  Aug. 24 -6:39pm

New fire on the Westside by Trader's Cove is reported to be out.  Cause appears to have been a cigarette.   Aug. 24 -6:30 pm

Castanet's Rick Dyer just visited the Bear Creek Fire: Looks like it is almost put out - just mopping up now.  Aug. 24 -8:29 am

Castanet's Nick Frost was in the air surveying developments on the fire. There is a lot of smoke hanging in valley today.  Winds are quiet.  Little wave action on the lake.  Very calm.  Can't see any raging fires. Bear Creek Fire - Can't see smoke coming from fire directly but can see a Sea King helicopter currently fighting fire.  Water bombers are going to be moving in on it.  More reports to come. Aug. 24 -8:15 am

All BC London Drugs stores are accepting donations to Red Cross BC Forest Fire Relief Fund Aug. 24 -8:02 am

Highway 33 has now been re-opened.  Aug. 24 -7:07 am

Iron man in Penticton is still on but with a revised course. Click for details.   Aug. 24 -6:49 am

Bear Creek fire is contained. Aug. 24 -6:40 am

Vaseux fire at 2,000 hectares now. Aug. 24 -6:29 am

Quiet night.  Many tired officials finally get some decent sleep last night.  Little new activity to report overnight.  South Ridge Cross road.  Build a cap gaurd along the powerlines in case winds come up.  Aug. 23 - 6:28 am

Anyone who lives on highway 33 on Evacuation Order is now allowed back.  People on Evacuation Order one block south of Highway 33 can not return yet. Aug. 23 - 6:23 am

 

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Saturday August 23

Rescind Order - 5,000 Residents Allowed to Return Home  (August 23 - 9:34 pm)
The fire commissioner has issued a rescind order for people evacuated from the north side of Highway 33 East, including the upper Rutland bench area, Ellison and Postill Lake area. Those people having a Highway 33 East address are permitted to return to their homes regardless of the side of the highway they reside.

Those people returning to their homes are now under Evacuation Alert. This means residents must remain to be prepared to leave their homes if fire conditions change and an Evacuation Order is re-issued.

The RCMP roadblock on Highway 33 will stay in place until all homeowners return to the area. Residents returning to their homes will require picture identification before being allowed re-entry.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center

Additional Reception Centers Available (August 23 - 5:35 pm)
The Reception Centres in Kelowna will be open 24 hours a day until further notice. Evacuees can register for assistance, and receive food and water. Only one adult per family is needed to register.

A number of other reception centres are also available for people who are now out of town and wish to register as evacuees.

Vernon Recreation Centre
3310 37th Avenue
250-545-2156

Merritt Civic Centre
2185 A Voght St. (behind City Hall)
250-315-1050

Kamloops Sport Mart Place
250-372-0906

Salmon Arm Community Centre
2550 E. Trans Canada Highway
250-832-2463

Evacuated residents with last names beginning with the letters A to K should report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre at 1800 Parkinson Way.

Those with last names beginning with the letters L to Z should report to the new Kelowna Secondary School at 1079 Raymer Avenue.

If evacuees haven’t already registered at the reception centres, they are requested to do so. Registration is necessary so evacuees can be tracked by friends and family concerned about their whereabouts. If any services such as food, clothing, lodging or medication are required, registration is also necessary. In addition, the Provincial Emergency Program and Emergency Social Services need to keep track of the scope and size of the evacuation to provide for proper Emergency Financial Assistance from the provincial and federal governments.

Community support is most appreciated.  Anyone wishing to donate goods should contact: Salvation Army at 1-800-SAL ARMY

Anyone wishing to make a financial donation should contact: The Canadian Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070

Anyone wishing to volunteer their time should register at Kelowna Secondary School at 1079 Raymer Avenue.

All other donations should be coordinated through the Emergency Social Services at the Emergency Operation Centre in Kelowna at 250-868-2605.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center

Correction Issued. Highway 33 Closure has NOT Been Removed (Aug. 23 -8:41 pm)
The Regional District has corrected premature report of Highway 33 closure being removed. Highway 33 is still closed from the Springfield turnoff to Rock Creek.

Highway 33 Closure Removed. (Aug. 23 -8:26 pm)
The closure of Highway 33 has been removed. Traffic on Highway 33 can again move freely.

Highway 33 Closed From the Springfield Road Turnoff to Rock Creek. (Aug. 23 -8:18 pm)
Highway 33 has been closed from the Springfield turnoff to Rock Creek. The highway will be open for residents of Big White who are on alert. The highway is the residents' only way out. Residents at Big White are NOT in any danger. There is only one way out of Big White, and fire officials on the mountain want to ensure their residents have a way out in case the fire does jump Highway 33.

Photos of Evacuees Home Available Tomorrow (Aug. 23 -8:12 pm)
Photos of evacuees homes will be available at the Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Rd., tomorrow at 1:30 PM. This will be a private showing and the media will not be invited. ID will be required.

Small fire in Lakeview Heights (Aug. 23 -8:10 pm)
There was just a small fire in Lakeview heights on Topham rd. A teenager threw a cigarette out his car window, and almost instantly the field was on fire. Neighbours had their hoses out and luckily the fire department was here within minutes and it is now out.

Good Progress Reported on Fire (Aug. 23 -7:45 pm)
Ministry of Forest Information official Darren Campbell is reporting good progress on the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire today. Winds have only been 15 to 25 kilometers an hour for much of the day, compared with the 50 to 70 kilometer gusts on Friday night. Darren Campbell says most of the fire areas are rank 3 or 4, meaning fires are not in the top areas of trees. This has made it easier for crews to do their work. Winds have been moving in different directions. In many instances, the fire is being pushed back into itself.

Information for Property Owners Who Believe Their Homes Were Damaged Friday by the Fire (Aug. 23 - 5:07 pm)
Form the Emergency Operations Centre 4:15 pm : City of Kelowna and Regional District Planning staff is working as quickly as possible to prepare information for residents on the status of their properties in the aftermath of the wildfire which swept through the south end of the City Friday night.

Staff is gathering data now to ensure they have correct information about which homes have not been affected by the fire, and which homes have unfortunately been lost.   They are using a combination of ground surveillance (going street to street) and aerial photography to compile accurate information on the status of each property in the affected neighborhoods.  The street to street checking depends on whether it is safe to go into an area because crews are still dealing with an active fire.  This is an ever changing situation because the fire has not been contained in all areas.

Residents who believe they are affected will be notified via the media about the date, time and location of a meeting to view maps of the affected areas.

This will be a meeting for residents only.  They will be required to bring identification showing ownership of property. 

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.

New Alert and Evacuation Numbers  (Aug. 23 - 1:45 pm)
The City of Kelowna Fire Department’s initial assessment of its major fire fighting efforts has determined that approximately 203 homes were lost Friday night. Most of the homes were located in the outer City limits on the south and easterly borders in the Okaview, Chute Lake, Trumpeter, Viewcrest and Curlew areas.  In the Kettle Valley subdivision, it’s believed only four homes couldn’t be saved.  Fire Chief Zimmermann says the fires were fierce and his crews worked extraordinarily hard in extremely difficult conditions. There were 175 firefighters and an additional 170 armed forces personnel, along with 50 fire trucks, deployed in the fight.  Ministry of Forests crews were also on scene assisting in the massive fire fighting effort.

This forest fire with its extremely dry fuel sources continues to challenge experts; it’s suggested only one fire like this would happened every 100 years. Forest fire fighting and emergency preparedness personnel say they’ve never experienced such an extraordinary fire with such severe implications.  With 26,000 residents forced from their homes this is believed to be the largest evacuation in the shortest period of time in Canada’s history. (Tom writes that he was involved in the evacuation of Mississauaga http://www.city.mississauga.on.ca/library/history/derail.htm that saw 200,000 evacuated in hours)

Due to the volatile conditions and the concern for resident’s safety there will be no day passes issued today. The situation will be assessed at 5 p.m. this evening to determine if some residents may be allowed back into their homes during the day tomorrow.

If evacuees haven’t already registered at the reception centres, they are requested to do so. Residents with last names beginning with A to K should register at Parkinson Recreation Centre and residents with last names beginning with L to Z should register at Kelowna Secondary School on Raymer Avenue behind the OUC KLO campus. If evacuees require assistance with lodging, food or clothing, registration is necessary. It also allows friends and family, as well as officials, to contact evacuees.  There are an estimated 3,000 local residents who have traveled to Kamloops for accommodation.  Those residents are being advised to register at the Kamloops Emergency Social Services facility in Sport Mart Place.

Please be advised that scheduled commercial flights are operating normally at Kelowna International Airport. All other aircraft movements are not permitted without prior approval of the Airport Manager. This is to ensure the airspace is kept clear for the aerial fire fighting operation involved with the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.

 Kelowna Regional Transit buses are running in areas under Evacuation Alert.

Evacuation Order: (Out Of Their Homes): 26, 000 people - 9,000 homes (25% of the City’s population)

Evacuation Alert: (Be Ready To Leave) 15,000 residents 6,000 homes

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.

Highlights from 11:00 am News Conference  Aug. 23 - 11:44 am
Last night was probably the roughest night in Kelowna firefighting history according to fire Chief Jerry Zimmerman. The Okanagan Mountain Park Forest fire hit Kelowna city limits Friday and destroyed 203 houses. 68 homes were lost in the Crawford Estates area, four houses lost in Kettle Valley, about 100 homes gone in the Viewcrest, Okaview and Chute Lake area and 16 in the Barnaby and Lakeshore road area. Added to 15 homes that were destroyed earlier that brings the total to 203. The fire department is taking aerial photographs of the burnt out homes and will be offering them to local media so the public can see if their house was affected. Three Kelowna firefighters homes were lost in the fires Friday night as they tried to fight the blaze. The fire is now estimated at 19,000 hectares. There are 250 people are on the firelines along with military personnel. 13 helicopters and 109 pieces of heavy equipment are being used to fight the fire. Safety is the number one priority and some crews had to be taken out of the area last night for their own safety. There's little chance of rain in the forecast and officials are fighting eight major interface fires in the Kamloops fire centre area. That includes the Vaseaux Lake fire that started Friday afternoon and has scorched 1,000 hectares. Crews are making progress on that fire but it is far from contained.

Flights Operate Normally Today  (10:10 am)
Please be advised that scheduled commercial flights are operating normally at Kelowna International Airport. All other aircraft movements without prior approval of the Airport Manager are not permitted. This is to ensure the airspace is kept clear for the aerial fire fighting operation of the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.
Click for flight departures

No Day Passes For Evacuees Today (10:10 am)
In the interests of public safety, No Day Passes will be issued for any residents who are subject to an Evacuation Order as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.   This area of concern is being constantly reviewed and any further change in status will be conveyed to the public through the media and through Emergency Social Service reception centres.

Vaseaux Lake Update (9:48 am)
The fire near Vaseaux lake in the South Okanagan is still burning this morning as of 9 am. There are helicopters on site fighting the blaze in a light wind. There's no estimate on the size of the fire which was started when an osprey nest at the top of a hydro pole fell to the ground, igniting dry grass and the utility pole. The fire is in the Shuttleworth creek Canyon area and residents of Okanagan Falls and the surrounding southeast area are on an evacuation alert. Firefighters dropped fire retardant on the blaze Friday afternoon which seems to have slowed it down.

Pet Care Efforts Ongoing 9:48 am
The Parkinson Rec Centre has been turned into a temporary home for about 400 animals who have been displaced because of the Okanagan Mountain Park forest fire. Spokesperson Terry Krisp says the SPCA on Casorso was evacuated Friday night and those animals are now in various locations. SCPA special constables are going back into evacuated areas to try and find any animals that may have been left behind in the huge evacuation of the south end of Kelowna last night. Krisp says there are animals of all shapes and sizes at the Rec Centre and she's looking for anyone who can temporarily house them. It's best to go down to the Rec Centre to see if you can help but you can also call 763-8732.

Castanet Does an Air Survey of Last Night's Damage (7:00 am to 8:30 am)
Castanet's Nick Frost was in the air this morning in an Air-Hart Airplane surveying the fire damage outside the no-fly zone.  Here is a summary of his observations.

General: Fire still looks pretty big but reduced since this time yesterday.  Seeing more smoke than fire but much less smoke compared to yesterday.  Six helicopters fighting fire now (8 am). Lots of little pop up fires (but could be houses as vantage point is from 4,000 feet). 

Damaged Areas: Surprised damage is not nearly as extensive as expected. Can see one to two dozen homes in Okaview that look damaged/destroyed.  Also heavy damage in Kettle Valley.  Can't see Westridge by gravel pit - covered by smoke. Cedar Creek and Summerhill Wineries are intact. Big white house on Lake looks intact.  Lake front homes don't look damaged.

Weather: Conditions were clear skies.  Wind coming from NW.  Light winds.

Fire direction: Fire activity seems to be in East Kelowna to highway 33.  Fire is still burning heavily behind Crawford Estates to Highway 33.  Lots of smoke from Myra Canyon.  Fire seems to be tracking west - along power line path behind Kelowna.  Looks like fire being blown backup the hill to the SE.  Power line acting as a fire guard.  South of power line lots of burning and smoke.  North of power line is very little scattered burning. Some burning on Crawford side of power line.

OK Mountain: Mist is rising from Okanagan Mountain park burn areas near Rattlesnake Island. (7:00 am)  Amazingly, scattered trees and green space remain.

OK Falls Fire: Fire near OKFalls/Penticton looks dramatic. Burning hot - doesn't look good.  Lots of smoke.  Looks similar to Okanagan Mount park fire a few days ago. (7:38 am)

Emergency Operations Center Update 7:45 am
After an evening of massive evacuations and fierce fire fighting the scene of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is quieter this morning.  Fresh teams of firefighters are arriving from all parts of British Columbia and Alberta to assist with the efforts.  The BC Ambulance Service reports there were four firefighters treated and released for fire related minor injuries such as smoke inhalation, cuts and debris from the fire in an eye.  There were no serious or life-threatening injuries which is remarkable considering the ferocious nature of the fire.

The weather conditions early this a.m. appear to be favorable to the fire fighting effort.  There is little wind and smoke is hanging close to the fire area.  No flames are visible along the southern line, which is shrouded in smoke.

Officials from the Kelowna Fire Department and BC Fire Commissioners Office are touring the areas affected by the fire last night, preparing an accurate assessment of the number of homes that have been saved and the number that couldn’t be saved from the rapidly advancing fire, which was fanned by winds associated with a thunderstorm cell which passed through the area.  Rough and unofficial estimates by fire fighters on the scene suggest up to 300 homes may be lost.

Evacuees:
With the exodus of an estimated 20,000 people last night, evacuees are strongly urged to make sure that at least one member of their family registers today with Emergency Social Services.  Many people are reported to have taken motels out of town, for example in Kamloops.  Residents who hadn’t made their own arrangements for accommodation spent the night in Skyreach Place, Trinity Baptist Church, Kelowna Secondary School and the Parkinson Recreation Centre.  Some are also being housed at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

The BC Ambulance Service advises that the transfer of more than 100 residents from the Sutherland Hills Rest Home went smoothly in conjunction with officials from the Interior Health Authority and the Handi-Dart bus service.  Five residents were transferred in three ambulances, while the remaining 97 residents were driven in IHA and Handi-dart vehicles.  They were taken to the Gateby Intermediate Care facility and the Alexander wing of Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.

Morning Recap - One Third of Population Evacuated Today - 7:51 am
A massive wildfire burning in British Columbia's southern interior has forced one-third of Kelowna's population from their homes and placed more on alert. Roughly 30,000 people have left their homes in the Okanagan city. Another 8,000 people are on a one-hour evacuation notice.

Winds are fanning the flames of the blaze, which is more than 100 metres high in areas. Officials pulled some firefighters from the scene overnight because conditions were so unpredictable.

Police have set up roadblocks to keep people away from evacuated areas as the fire inches closer to the city. At least 15 homes in the city's Kettle Valley subdivision have been confirmed destroyed, with more damage expected.  Kelowna RCMP continue to maintain roadblocks in and around our city and patrol the areas that have been evacuated. Staff Sergeant Phil Boisenault says it as extremely busy Friday night with the mass evacuation taking place. Boisenault says they are having a real problem with people refusing to obey evacuation orders. He says that ties up police resources because they have to go back into the neighbourhoods and explain the legal ramifications of their actions. Boisenault says the action is placing other people's property at risk. He says police should be concentrating on patrolling evacuated neighbourhoods and attending to other emergencies.

Kelowna Fire Chief Gary Zimmerman said there was "considerable" loss overnight. "This fire is obviously the worst thing that we've ever seen in this city," said Zimmerman.

Carol Suhan, with the Kelowna Emergency Operations Centre, told CBC Newsworld the firefighting plan is to keep the fire out of the city and not fight house fires. She said officials will assess the situation in the morning.

Police drove through the city Friday night with bullhorns, ordering about 20,000 people to leave. They joined 10,000 people who were ordered out a day earlier.

Registration centres in the city's downtown were overwhelmed and shut down as people slept in hockey rinks, churches and in their cars.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell is toured some of the hardest hit areas to see the damage caused by the wildfires near Kelowna and Kamloops. "The fire has been growing in really reckless, volatile and erratic directions ... I'd like Mother Nature to help us out here."

Meanwhile fire crews are still monitoring fires all over the southern end of Kelowna. A number of structures have been lost overnight but we won't get a firm count until a press conference later this morning. The fire department says it has calmed down this morning. But crews are still overhauling areas that previously were on fire. The Emergency Operations Centre scales down to a skeleton crew overnight but should now be gearing up for another tough day.

Highway 33 Closed  Today - 12:51 am
The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire evacuation has forced the closure of Highway 33 in Kelowna. The RCMP will have a roadblock at the Highway 33 and Highway 3 junction. Until further notice there will be no through traffic and travellers will be routed via Highway 97.
 

Names of streets between Mission Creek& Highway 33 on Evacuation Alert August 23 - 12:30 am

Streets included in the current Evacuation Alert.
 

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Aug. 23 Continuous Coverage


The Roadblock on Highway 33 will remain in place until all residents have returned to their homes. Saturday Aug. 23 -10:58pm

On Sunday, from 10 - 6 there is a donation drop-off location at Eagle Self Storage at 2231 Moose Rd. Westside volunteers will be accepting donations for evacuees and they will be placed directly on a U-Haul truck to be brought into Kelowna. Saturday Aug. 23 -10:13 pm

Big White has been put on a 3-hour evacuation alert. Residents are NOT in any danger. There is only one way out of Big White, and fire officials on the mountain want to ensure their resident have a way out in case the fire does jump Highway 33.  Saturday Aug. 23 -7:55 pm

Pictures of devastated area Friday night from Saturday's media tour Saturday Aug. 23 -6:15 pm

NEW Official Evacuation Area Map Saturday Aug. 23 - 6:15 pm

People are asked to wear Yellow to show support for our fire fighters.  Saturday Aug. 23 -3:49 pm

The Roadblock on Highway 33 will remain in place until all residents have returned to their homes.  10:58pm

Show your support of the firefighters and stop by Silk FM at 1598 Pandosy, and pick up your yellow ribbon.  By Donation.  All proceeds to the fire relief fund.  10:49pm

RCMP ask that residents of areas where the Evacuation Order has been lifted don't rush back to their homes.  There has been some congestion as these residents return home.  10:25pm

We have been advised by Air Canada tonight that our direct Toronto to Kelowna flight has been cancelled. The airline stated that the smoke was too thick to land the larger plane. Travellers are flying into Vancouver or Calgary, then transferring to a smaller Dash-8 aircraft.  10:22pm

On Sunday, from 10 - 6 there is a donation drop-off location at Eagle Self Storage at 2231 Moose Rd.    Westside volunteers will be accepting donations for evacuees and they will be placed directly on a U-Haul truck to be brought into Kelowna. 10:13 pm

A website visitor reports that Cher has just announced that she is going to donate half of tonight's concert profits to the B.C. forest fire relief fund - Kelowna in particular. 9:02 pm

The fire on Bear Creek Main Road, on the Westside, appears to be almost out 8:28 pm

Big White has been put on evacuation alert. Residents are NOT in any danger. There is only one way out of Big White, and fire officials on the mountain want to ensure their resident have a way out in case the fire does jump Highway 33 7:55 pm

MSNBC comes up with new pronunciation of "Kelowna".  Link.  7:17 pm

Premier's Statement on Kelowna Fires. 7:13 pm

Trinity Baptist Church still have many beds available. Bedding and supplies have been donated by businesses.  7:05 pm

Mayor Walter Gray says it will be tomorrow before evacuees learn the fate of their homes as pictures of the burned down homes from Friday's fire won't be released until Sunday. He says the pilots couldn't take the pictures Saturday because of heavy smoke7:10 pm

Witnesses report seeing four water bombers concentrating on the fire in East Kelowna. 6:43 pm

Pictures of devastated area last night from media tour today 6:15 pm

NEW Official Evacuation Area Map 6:15 pm

Evacuation Alert/Order Map courtesy CHBC 6:15 pm

According to witnesses, the ground level winds in downtown Naramata now appear to be coming predominately from the North. There is some gusting and swirling. 5:48 pm

According to witnesses the Bear Creek fire has crested over the mountain and can now be seen from Kelowna. 5:48 pm

Telus is advising customers not to call their homes to check to see if their answering machines pick-up as a way to confirm if their home is safe.  Residents may not reach their answering machines due to phone service disruptions and power outages.  Telus automated voice mail will not be impacted by the fire. 5:48 pm

The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire evacuation has forced the closure of Highway 33 in Kelowna. The RCMP will have a roadblock at the Highway 33 and Highway 3 junction. Until further notice there will be no through traffic and travellers will be routed via Highway 97. 5:20 pm

According to witnesses, the ground level winds in downtown Naramata now appear to be coming predominately from the North. There is some gusting and swirling.  5:18 pm

Bear Creek fire has been contained. 5:01 pm

Kelowna Senator Ross Fitzpatrick who owns Cedar Creek Estate Winery says his home is still standing and spent the day with the day with Ministry of Defence John McCallum visiting the Barriere area to inspect the fire up there. He says PM Chretien will be visiting Kelowna Sunday at around 1 pm. Premier Campbell will also be joining him for a tour of the fire area. 5:01 pm

Westside road blocked off at Highway 97.4:29 pm

Witnesses say boaters are impeding the efforts of water bombers that are trying to extinguish a fire in the Bear Creek Main area. 4:28 pm

Residents in the evacuation areas are being asked to keep the covers off their pools so choppers can get access to water to fight the fire. 4:27 pm

Conservation officers have been called in to deal with an injured bear in the Okaview and Lark area. Fire fighters are worried it might be aggressive because it's hurt. (4:22 pm)

Poplar Point - Lookie loos cause traffic jam.  (4:03 pm)

There are Four New Evacuee Registration Centres: Vernon Community Centre, Merritt Civic Center, Sport Mart Place, Salmon Arm Community Center (3:58 pm)

People are asked to wear Yellow to show support for our fire fighters.  (3:49 pm)

Officials request that people stay off the bridge so that emergency vehicles can cross. (3:49 pm)

Smoke showing in the 5200 block of Lakeshore Rd in the Camp Dunlop area.  (3:41 pm)

Fire crew concentrating on fire at the west end of Stewart Road. (3:40 pm)

Bear Creek fire started in a river-side lot.  Two helicopters, a water bomber and two pumper trucks are actioning the fire.  Slash on the lot has caught fire.  (3:35 pm)

We will have photos from the media tour of the areas affected by the fire online soon.  (3:31 pm)

Smoke has been reported between the Bear Creek valley area and Bear Lake.  Two helicopters with buckets plus one spotter chopper are on the scene.  Boaters are asked to stay away from the area.  (2:53 pm)

Click here for an update on the 2003 Subaru Ironman Canada Triathlon in Penticton. (2:51 pm)

Mars bomber working on Vasseux fire today.  ( 2:42 pm)

Fire is still active northeast of Crawford. (2:32 pm)

It is the 30th anniversary of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park today.  The fire has been going for a week now. (1:32 pm)

You can now access us at http://castanet.firewatch.net/  as well as http://www.castanet.net  We are installing two more servers in our cluster to double our power. Thanks for bearing with us.  (1:32 pm)

Emergency Operations Center has now been established in Penticton. (1:25 pm)

All 400 pets at the Parkinson Rec. Centre have found a place to stay.  (12:45 pm)

McLeary's Bedroom Center will take 30 evacuees.  Please register at the Parkinson Rec. Centre.  (12:32 pm)

If you can take in evacuees, please call 215-4098, 215-4093, 762-0873.762-5983.  The numbers will be busy - keep trying.  You can also visit RENTBC. (12:32 pm)

Updated New Evacuation Area Map by Dmytryshyn & Associates. (12:12 pm)

Interior Health wishes to advise the public that with the continuing hot temperatures and forest fires, snakes are on the move.  With a worldwide shortage of antivenin for rattlesnake bites, it is important for individuals to be extra cautious. If you see a snake leave it alone.  Click here for more. (11:26 am)

Photos from Nick Frost's flight over Kelowna this morning are now available. (11:05 am)

Kin Racetrack Park in Vernon can take in over 70 horses.  You can just take your horses there the stalls are open and there is camping there so you can stay with your horses.  There has been hay donated as well.  Their number is Robin 542-6456 or 542-7885 (10:37 am)

Live online fire chat now available. (10:19am)

We have confirmation that the RCMP have said they will NOT be issuing day passes for evacuated people to re-enter their residences this morning.  10:14 am

Press conference at 11 am today.  Press tour of new damaged areas at 1 pm. 9:14 am

What to host evacuees?  Need emergency accommodation? Do it online free at RentBC. 8:58 am

All alerts and advisory since last night remain the same.  No changes.  8:45 am

No damage on Lupin Road. 8:44 am

Drop off tenderly used teddy bears for kid evacuees at Silk FM.  Silk will deliver to kids.  Silk is downtown  at 1598 Pandosy Street. 8:40 am

RCMP Roadblock at Highway 33 and 3 junction.  Highway 33 closed. 7:38 am

After 8 am KSS Reception Center will re-open.  Parkinson Rec Centre - now open. 7:38 am

Updated flight departures Click here.  6:50 am

Okanagan Fire Relief - Donation Web Site
Acro Media has set up a dedicated
web site for those wishing to donate money to the families affected by the Okanagan fires. Donations can be made online using Visa or MasterCard. Money collected will be given to the charitable organizations assisting in the fire relief for the Okanagan.  For questions or more information, contact Paul Kiefte at [email protected] (or emergencies at 215-3039).
  12:20am

Sleep Country Sleep Centre has 50 beds available for evacuees.  Bring your own blanket if you have one.  12:14am

KSS Emergency Reception Centre closed for the night.  Parkinson's Recreation Centre has also closed.  Trinity Baptist Church and Skyreach Place are still accepting evacuees, but will not be able to process registrations.  12:05am

500 cots available at Skyreach Place.
12:04am

 

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Friday August 22

Street Names Included in Evacuation Orders August 22 - 10:53 pm
Names of streets included in today's orders.
Names of streets included in previous orders.

 

Okanagan Mountain Park Fire Update August 22 - 10:55 pm
Captain Len Moody of the Kelowna Fire Department addressed officials in the Emergency Operations Centre at 9:45 tonight on efforts to battle the Okanagan Mountain Fire.

In his words the fire is a “war zone”, a firestorm category six. Firefighters are battling walls of flame 400 feet high. With wind gusts of 60 to 70 km. per hour pushing the fire at 100 metres per minute tonight, Captain Moody feels fortunate no lives were lost. In two instances firefighters were trapped with flames all around and through the efforts of their colleagues battled their way out.

Homes have been lost between Kettle Valley and Lakeshore Road. More details will be provided as they become available.

Plans are being finalized on the massive job of housing 30,000 people now out of their homes. People who can stay with friends and family are asked to do so. Those who have no other place to stay and require information on temporary accommodation may call the Public Information Line at 869-0386, or they may go to either the Parkinson Recreation Centre or Kelowna Secondary School on Raymer Avenue.

Skyreach Place on Water Street and Trinity Baptist Church on Springfield at Spall are both open to accept evacuees who have no accommodation arrangements. For anyone traveling north the Vernon Recreation Complex at 3310 37th Avenue is also open for evacuee assistance.

Three thousand people in Kelowna are on Evacuation Alert.

URGENT PUBLIC REQUESTS:
• Boil Water Advisory – Residents who obtain their drinking water from the Black Mountain Irrigation District and South East Kelowna Irrigation District are urged to boil all drinking water for human consumption or use bottled water. The chlorine cylinders that are normally used to treat water have been removed from the potential fire path and water for the two systems is not being treated.

• Please stay off the telephone lines, and please don’t use cellular phones, unless it is extremely urgent. All circuits are overloaded and emergency personnel are not able to access free lines. The 9-1-1 Emergency Line is jammed. Anyone needing an ambulance and not able to get through by calling 9-1-1 should call 860-0054.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.


NEW EVACUATION ORDER August 22 - 7:45 pm
The BC Fire Commissioners Office has issued a further evacuation order, in addition to the two already issued this evening.

The new evacuation order includes property from Okanagan Lake along the south side of Mission Creek; east along Mission Creek to Hollywood Road North, north on Hollywood Road North to Springfield Road, east on Springfield to Highway 33, north on Highway 33 to McKenzie Road, due north on McKenzie Road to Old Vernon Road at the end of Kelowna International Airport following the boundary of the Regional District of Central Okanagan; east on Old Vernon Road to Postill Lake Road, then east on Postill Lake Road to the eastern most boundary of the Regional District. The order boundary follows the east and south boundaries of the Regional District of Central Okanagan back to Okanagan Lake.

Evacuated residents with last names beginning with the letters A to K should report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre at 1800 Parkinson Way.

Those with last names beginning with the letters L to Z should report to the new Kelowna Secondary School at 1079 Raymer Avenue.

Tonight's Evacuation Order affects close to 20,000 people, bringing the total number of residents under evacuation to 30,000.

A new Evacuation Alert has been issued for all the residences located within the following descriptor: from the intersection of Swamp Road to Benvoulin Road, north to Casorso Road, northeast on Benvoulin Road to Highway 97, northeast on 97 to Highway 33, east on Highway 33 to McKenzie Road, north on McKenzie Road following a line to Old Vernon Road east on Old Vernon Road to Postill Lake Road and then east on Postill Lake Road to the eastern boundary of the Regional District of Central Okanagan. From the corner of Postill Lake Road and Old Vernon Road, north to Beaver Lake Road, east on Beaver Lake Road to the eastern boundary of the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Residents are advised to gather essential items such as medications, glasses, valuable papers and keepsakes such as photographs. Preparations should be made to move any disabled persons and children. Pets and livestock should be moved to a safe area.

As much advance notice as possible will be given should the need to evacuate occur, however limited notice may occur due to changing conditions.

URGENT PUBLIC REQUESTS:
Please stay off the telephone lines unless it is extremely urgent. All circuits are overloaded and emergency personnel are not able to access free lines.

The 9-1-1 Emergency Line is jammed. Anyone needing an ambulance and not able to get through by calling 9-1-1 should call 860-0054.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.


EXPANDED EVACUATION ORDER
August 22 - 6:15 pm
The BC Fire Commissioners Office has issued two more evacuation orders.

The first Evacuation Order is for residents living along Lakeshore Road on the west, Dehart Road on the north, Crawford Road on the east, Barnaby Road and Bellevue Creek on the south.

The second Evacuation Order is for residents living in the Sutherland Hills Rest Home at 3801 Hall Road.   The BC Ambulance Service is assisting with this evacuation.

Residents are asked to leave with any belongings as quickly as possible.  They are asked to take sleeping bags and pillows for each member of their family.

Evacuated residents with last names beginning with the letters A to K should report to the Parkinson Recreation Centre at 1800 Parkinson Way.

Those with last names beginning with the letters L to Z should report to the new Kelowna Secondary School at 1079 Raymer Avenue.

Read the full news release from the Emergency Operations Center here.
 

EXPANDED EVACUATION ORDER August 22 - 4:50 pm
The British Columbia Fire Commissioners Office has expanded the Evacuation Alert for the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park forest fire.

Now on Alert are residents living on Springfield Road from Ziprick Road, to Highway 33 on the north side, south and east on Highway 33 to the 201 Forestry Road and south and west on the 201 Forestry Road, including all of the McCulloch Lake area.

 This upgrade to alert status affects a sparsely populated rural area.

Residents are advised to gather essential items such as medications, glasses, valuable papers and keepsakes such as photographs. Preparations should be made to move any disabled persons and children. Pets and livestock should be moved to a safe area.

As much advance notice as possible will be given should the need to evacuate occur, however limited notice may occur due to changing conditions.

  • Revised evacuation numbers show that approximately 7,000 people were forced out of their homes last night by the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. About 2,300 homes are affected in south east Kelowna and the southwest Mission.
  • More than 11,000 people are on Evacuation Alert.
  • A new list of updated street