The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is contacting property owners who sustained a total loss of their property as a result of the McDougall Creek Wildfire to schedule escorted-entry neighbourhood bus visits.
Residents will receive a phone call followed by an individual invitation to attend a bus visit. Only those whose properties have sustained a total loss or properties damaged to the point they cannot be occupied at this time will be able to participate. This process is to ensure those that have received devastating news have the privacy, time and space to be the first to see their properties. Bus visits are being offered to allow affected homeowners to access and view their property before issuing further evacuation order and alert rescindments for the broader neighbourhood.
Bus visits are being scheduled over the coming days and property owners are being contacted directly in a tiered process with details on visit opportunities and schedules.
Those whose properties have sustained some damage but will be safe for a return home when orders are lifted will not be contacted and will not be participating in visits. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this process.
Due to the active efforts underway to remove hazards in areas directly affected by wildfire, participants will need to remain on the bus at all times during visits. Access is restricted in some areas and not all properties will be viewable from the bus visit (for example, residences up a long and inaccessible driveway).
Bus visits will have limited capacity and only two people per property will be allowed to attend the visit. Identification will be required to attend a visit. RCMP, Emergency Operations Centre Planning staff and mental health professionals will be on the visits to offer support to property owners.
All evacuation orders remain in place. A plan for phased re-entry is underway, however some areas with extensive damage may remain under evacuation order until hazards are mitigated and power is restored. Restoring services to heavily-damaged neighbourhoods may take up to a few weeks.
Residents on evacuation order who have home and tenant insurance coverage should contact their insurance provider for emergency support. Emergency Support Services (ESS) remain available for residents who are on evacuation order and do not have insurance coverage. These individuals should have received instructions from ESS for their renewal needs. Those who have not been given instructions should go to the West Kelowna reception centre at Mount Boucherie Secondary School, 2751 Cameron Road, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
[top photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Service]