News Release No. 54                    

Date:   Thursday, August 28, 2003      

Time:   7 p.m.

 

PUBLIC INFO LINE:                                          869-0386

PRC RECEPTION CENTRE:                            762-8646

RED CROSS INFO LINE RE EVACUEES:     1-888-350-6070

PROVINCIAL INFO LINE:                                 1-800-311-7044

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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)

 

 

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

 

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.