UPDATE: Monday, September 4, 2023
Preparing for Re-entry
As we move towards re-entry, we must remember the fire zone is extremely dangerous. The wildfire has left significant damage and dangerous conditions behind. This includes ash pits, which are holes in the ground filled with ash, possibly containing hot embers beneath. Danger trees may fall without warning. The air may be affected by hazardous ash or smoke particles.
The fire area is not what you left, and significant dangers have been left behind.
Nobody should enter:
- Burned structures or
- Burned forest area
These two areas are highly dangerous, and you are likely to be injured if you enter these areas.
Burned structures are loaded with hazards including chemicals off-gassing, toxic dust which may include asbestos, sharp objects, wires and other overhead hazards, unstable objects including walls and holes in surfaces. Do not enter until assessed by a professional – contact your insurance to arrange this.
Burned forests have significant hazards. This will remain for years. The fire has left behind danger trees – those are trees which can fall without warning even without a wind, due to roots being burned out.
Ash pits are also significant on this fire and can be from any organic material underground, which may leave a void underneath which will collapse when weight is placed. We know some of these ash pits have been reported to be several feet deep. Both children and adults should stay out of burned forest for the foreseeable future.
Ash pits may also exist under areas where wood was used for structure, such as culverts or landscaping walls. Be very careful, the drought appears to have made ash pits much more significant in the wildfire zone.
Water should be assumed to be non-drinkable, and should not be consumed until testing has been completed. Information on CSRD-managed water systems as well as other registered systems is available online at drinkingwaterforeveryone.ca
View the Returning Home booklet.
Emergency order downgrades to come
Evacuation orders have been in place for a long time. Crews have been working weeks to repair the damage and we are getting close to the point which most areas will be able to return.
Following an opportunity for people to see their lost structures on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, and Wednesday, September 6, 2023, we will begin downgrades of evacuation orders.
- Beginning at 2 PM Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Celista and Magna Bay areas will see their Evacuation Orders downgraded to Alert.
- Beginning at 4 PM Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Scotch Creek and Lee Creek areas will see their Evacuation Orders downgraded to Alert.
- Beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Lower East Adams Lake and Tsútswecw Park area will see Evacuation Orders downgraded to Alert.
Please DO NOT show up early to return. This will reduce congestion and frustration as people return. Emergency Support Services will remain in place for a short time after the Evacuation Orders are downgraded, so you may wish to consider waiting to return until some of the initial congestion has cleared.
If you are not from the North Shuswap, please stay away. We do not need additional people making re-entry for locals complicated.
Some additional rapid damage assessments have taken place in the North Shuswap. These were properties that could not be reached by Canada Task Force 1 due to active wildfire or impassable conditions. Unfortunately there has been additional structure loss.
As of September 4, 2023, there are approximately:
- 176 Total Structure Losses
- 50 Partial Structure Damages
Weather and Fire Conditions
Tuesday will again see cooler temperatures with isolated showers possible. Cooler weather with higher humidity in the first few days of the week will continue to dampen fire behaviour and allow firefighters to continue their efforts. There is some Rank 1 fire behaviour remaining throughout the fire area, especially in areas with high concentrations of fuel such as log decks, and slash piles. The fire also continues to burn in deep tree root systems underground.
Emergency Support Services (ESS)
ESS is open at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Salmon Arm (790-16 Street NE). Operating hours will be 9 AM – 4 PM seven days a week. The phone number remains the same 250-833-3360.
Refrigerator and freezer disposal is now available for residents of Sorrento, Anglemont and St. Ives. Be sure to speak to your insurance provider before discarding your appliance.
If you think it’s UNSAFE to open your refrigerator/freezer, or you have been instructed to discard it:
- Seal the doors shut with duct tape
- Label the appliance “CONTAMINATED” in large print
Transport the appliance to specified locations as outlined below:
Residents can take appliances to the Skimikin Transfer Station (Open Friday to Thursday 10 AM to 4 PM) or the Salmon Arm Landfill (Open 7 Days a Week - 9 AM to 5 PM.)
Anglemont & St. Ives
Ruined refrigerators and freezers on properties located outside of the Evacuation Order areas of the North Shuswap can be brought to a drop off location that has been set up at:
Ross Creek Store (6929 Squilax-Anglemont Road). There is also a bin placed in this location for residential garbage.
If you need assistance with moving your fridge or freezer in Anglemont or St. Ives, please contact John Dyck with Christian Aid Ministries at 250-517-0075.
Residents of Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista & Magna Bay will receive disposal instructions when the Evacuation Order is rescinded.
Call the CSRD: 250-833-3396
People running event-based fundraisers should use the Shuswap Tourism Events Calendar on their website shuswaptourism.ca to help with promotion.
ESS is accepting gift cards to assist evacuees. Only gift cards will be accepted at this location. DO NOT bring other items to the reception centre. Call 250-833-3396 instead.
ESS will be open at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Salmon Arm (790-16 Street NE). Operating hours are 9 AM – 4 PM seven days a week. The phone number remains the same, 250-833-3360.
Evacuation Status Dashboard
Please visit the Shuswap Emergency Program website to view the interactive map to find out if your property is on Evacuation Alert or Order.
For the latest updates on the Bush Creek East wildfire (K21633), visit the BC Wildfire Dashboard.
Barge reservation request: https://lfaccess.csrd.bc.ca/Forms/BargeReservationPermit
Livestock Assistance 250-833-3399
Emergency Support Services (ESS) 250-833-3360
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Information Line
250-833-3350 from 8 AM to 5 PM or email [email protected]
Structure loss map: https://www.csrd.bc.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1683