Prioritizing Debris Clean-up
Communities are encouraged to prioritize debris cleanup on and around properties before the arrival of snow and freezing temperatures. When left over winter, the toxic chemicals and dangerous materials contained in the debris have the potential to enter the watershed.
Building Permit Restrictions
The CSRD Board unanimously agreed to temporarily stop issuing building permits or conducting building inspections in fire-impacted areas of the Shuswap pending completed results from critical geotechnical assessments. The size and scale of the Bush Creek East Wildfire has the potential to change soil, vegetation, watercourses and other natural features of the area. This can significantly increase the risk of landslides, flooding, rockfall and erosion.
The decision on the moratorium was released from the closed portion of the CSRD Regular Board meeting on Thursday, September 14, 2023. BGC Engineering Ltd. has already started work on the assessment, which covers areas of the North Shuswap, Adams Lake and Sorrento.
Update on Fire Behaviour
Size: 43,346 Hectares
Information updated as of September 15, 2023
As windy conditions and warm and dry conditions continue in the Shuswap region, increased fire activity is visible on the Bush Creek East wildfire (K21633) located northeast of Chase. This morning, fire activity increased within the fire’s perimeter on the east side of Squilax Mountain, and a large amount of smoke is visible from the surrounding areas.
Ground personnel, water tenders and heavy equipment continue working in the area. Skimmer airtankers will be supporting response today and will use local lakes for water uptake. In the interest of air crew and public safety, people are urged to keep well away from areas where airtankers or helicopters are operating.
This weekend, a cold front moving through the region will bring sustained strong winds and reduced relative humidity values, in addition to temperatures remaining above seasonal norms.
On large wildfires, visible smoke and activity within the fire’s perimeter is common and will continue until significant rainfall or snowfall. If you see smoke coming from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern. However, smoke rising from green, unburned fuel or from outside a fire’s perimeter should be reported immediately.
Now that evacuees have returned to the communities in North Shuswap, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is starting to wind down as efforts turn to the recovery phase of the wildfire event. Recovery is complex and often takes years to complete. It relies heavily on a collaborative, community approach where all of us play a role in preparation and prevention.
The Recovershuswap.ca website is now live. The CSRD-managed site is a single source for recovery activity and information. Check regularly for up-to-date information.
Resiliency Centre and ESS
Emergency Support Services, located at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 790 16 ST NE, Salmon Arm 250-833-3360 will remain open at the Resiliency Centre until further notice. Please note reduced hours of operation from 10 AM – 2 PM, seven days a week.
The Resiliency Centre offers a single point of contact for those impacted by the Bush Creek East wildfire.Staff and volunteers are trained to assess individuals and direct toward any available information and support. Attend in person at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, located at 790-16 Street NE, Salmon Arm from 9 AM to 4 PM, seven days a week. If unable to visit in-person, call the team at 250-833-3400.
Some available services include:
Service BC (Driver’s License, BC Services Card, BCID, Marriage and Birth Certificates) and help with download, use and identity verification for Service BC app.
Service Canada for questions related to passport replacement, pension and employment insurance applications, claims and direct deposit, old age security and other programs.
Info on mental and physical health supports, water testing requirements, septic system management, air quality and soil testing.
Psychological support, referrals for long term mental health support, safe injection kits.
Cleaning, Personal Hygiene and After the Fire Kits Registration and referrals to other agencies for navigating damage and loss recovery.
Look for our EOC Information Team members at the Sorrento Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 16 from 9 - 12 p.m. to share your experience about the wildfire, ask questions and provide feedback related to wildfire activity.
NOTE: Information below has not been updated but remains relevant as recovery efforts continue.
The CSRD has closed:
· Mt. Baldy Trail in the South Shuswap
· Scotch Creek Hlina Trail and the trails behind Farrell’s Field in the North Shuswap.
Keeping the community informed with information related to the Bush Creek Wildfire emergency and recovery is critical to move forward. Everyone is encouraged to play a part in seeking and sharing information specific to their individual needs. Key contacts include:
● The Resiliency Centre - Fairfield Inn & Suites, 790 16 St NE, Salmon Arm
250-833-3400, open from 9 AM to 4 PM, seven days a week.
● Emergency Support Services - Fairfield Inn & Suites, 790 16 ST NE, Salmon Arm 250-833-3360 will remain open at the Resiliency Centre until further notice. Please note reduced hours of operation from 10 AM – 2 PM, seven days a week.
● Recovershuswap.ca - a dedicated website for recovery information and resources is now live
● Shuswap Emergency Map - real-time updates on alerts, fire status and related information
● CSRD Emergency Alert System - download alertable app to receive alerts
● CSRD Emergency Updates
● CSRD Facebook
● Emergency Info BC
● BC Wildfire Service
● Drive BC
● Air Quality and Health Advice
● Shuswap Hydrometric Data
Landfills and transfer stations now open
All CSRD landfills and transfer stations are open for their regular hours. See the CSRD’s Garbage and Recycling page on their website, https://www.csrd.bc.ca/168/Garbage-Recycling
Appliance disposal locations
Label the appliance “CONTAMINATED” in large print. Transport the appliance to specified locations as outlined below:
● 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)
● Ross Creek Store, located at 6929 Squilax-Anglemont Road. There is also a bin placed in this location for residential garbage.
● Summer hours have been extended for the Scotch Creek Transfer Station. Hours are 8 AM to 2 PM, seven days per week until October 15. Ruined fridges and freezers can be dropped off at that site, located at 3508 Squilax-Anglemont Road, Scotch Creek.
If you need help moving your fridge or freezer, please call John Dyck at Christian Aid Ministries at 250-517-0075.
Now that evacuation orders have lifted and residents are returning to assess properties, please remember the fire zone remains extremely hazardous, including:
● Ash pits - holes in the ground filled with ash that may contain hot embers
● Danger trees - burned trees and roots that may fall without warning.
● Air quality - hazardous ash or smoke particles
The fire area may look unfamiliar, making it difficult to spot some of the hidden hazards. Do not enter burned structures, burned forest or areas with fencing or barricades indicating hazards until assessed by a professional.
Boil Water Advisories
Some boil water advisories still exist in affected areas. 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.
Properties still on order
While evacuation orders have been lifted through the region, some individual properties with damage rendering the structure unsafe to enter remain on evacuation order. These properties are listed on the Shuswap Emergency Mapping Dashboard.
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 (located at the Fairfield Inn & Suites) 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