UPDATE: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 4:30 PM
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 live. The CSRD-managed site is a single source for recovery activity and information. Check regularly for up-to-date information.
Prioritizing Debris Clean-up
Communities are encouraged to prioritize debris cleanup on and around properties before the arrival of snow and freezing temperatures. If debris remains in place over the winter, the toxic chemicals and dangerous materials contained in the debris have the potential to enter the watershed.
Christian Aid Ministries are now moving ahead with yard cleanup in the North Shuswap for the people affected by the fire who do not have insurance. Anyone needing help can contact John Dyck at 250-517-0075.
Residents and contractors dealing with debris removal from the North Shore have a new option when it comes to the disposal of concrete and asphalt. Skwlax Aggregates accepts CLEAN concrete and asphalt at $40/Tonne.
Skwlax Aggregates is a Skwlax-owned business, located directly across the road from the industrial park on IR#1. Operating hours are Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 4 PM. For more information or to ask questions visit www.skwlaxaggregates.com.
Update on Fire Behaviour
Information updated as of September 20, 2023
Size: 45,613 Hectares
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity will help to reduce fire activity today, September 20, and smoke will be less visible in many areas surrounding the fire.
An increase in temperatures later in the week means visible smoke might once again increase. The fire has dug in deep and extinguishing it will continue to be a challenge.
Helicopters continue to provide support for ground crews by bucketing water onto the fire, filling water bladders where no natural water supply exists, moving personnel and completing other tasks as needed.
Heavy equipment is being used to construct fire guards, provide water for ground crews and fulfill other critical suppression needs.
Although we are entering the fall season, nearby communities can still expect to see smoke within the perimeter over the coming weeks. This is common with large wildfires 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 by calling *5555 or 1-800-663-5555.
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.
All CSRD landfills and transfer stations are open for their regular hours. To accommodate additional demand due to wildfire, the Scotch Creek Transfer Station is remaining on summer hours from 8 AM to 2 PM seven days per week until October 15, 2023. See the CSRD’s Garbage and Recycling page on their website, https://www.csrd.bc.ca/168/Garbage-Recycling
Appliance disposal locations
Disposal of appliances at the Ross Creek Store, located at 6929 Squilax-Anglemont Road will be discontinued at the end of the business day on Friday, September 22.
All fridges, freezers and residential garbage can be taken to these locations:
● Skimikin Transfer Station (Open Friday to Thursday 10 AM to 4 PM)
● Scotch Creek Transfer Station (Open 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.
● Salmon Arm Landfill (Open 7 Days per week - 9 AM to 5 PM) 4290 20th Ave SE
If you need help moving your fridge or freezer, please call John Dyck at Christian Aid Ministries at 250-517-0075.
Resiliency Centre and ESS
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.
Emergency Support Services, located at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 790 16 ST NE, Salmon Arm 250-833-3360 will be open today and Thursday, September 21, 2023. ESS will be closed Friday, September 22 through Monday, September 25, 2023. ESS will re-open on Tuesday, September 26 from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Look for our EOC Information Team members at various pop-up locations in the North and South Shuswap. We’d like to hear from you and try to answer your questions.
NOTE: Information below has not been updated but remains relevant as recovery efforts continue.
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:
● 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
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.
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.