Neighborhood rallies to assist these evacuated on account of wildfire – West Kelowna Information
Photo: Bill Cheetham
A tanker dropping retardant on the Mount Law fire in Glenrosa
It was a more quiet night on the fire lines at the Mount Law wildfire in Glenrosa.
Rain and cooler temperatures meant the terrifying orange glow that loomed over the West Kelowna neighbourhood on Sunday night was no longer visible.
Despite the dampened fire activity, the Regional District of Central Okanagan issued slightly widened evacuation alerts Monday night for 18 properties in rural Peachland.
The fire is still estimated to be 800 hectares in fire. At sunset, it was mostly smouldering and burning on the ground.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue still has not provided specifics of what exactly the “small number” of structures hit by the fire on Sunday night is.
The BC Wildfire Service said crews spent Monday working to reinforce a guard on the north flank with heavy equipment, while extending those control lines down the western edge of the fire towards Highway 97C.
There are 22 wildland firefighters, three helicopters, air tankers and municipal firefighters assigned to the blaze.
This story will be updated throughout the day as information is known.
With thousands displaced from their homes due to the wildfires across the region, the community has come together to lend a hand however they can.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says they have been inundated with calls from residents asking how they can be of help to those in need.
“Our ESS is operating out of the Sutherland Avenue location so anybody can drop off items of donation to the Salvation Army there.”
CORD says they also have a contact number for anyone looking to volunteer with ESS or offer up lodging for evacuees — 250-469-1302.
For those that are offering up properties, Wilson says it is best to contact CORD. From there, CORD will connect those that are displaced with those who have a place to stay.
Doug Patton says he has property up at Big White and is hoping it can be of use to a family.
“We are not there right now. We use it on weekends, but we don’t have to be. I would rather someone use it that needs it. For people that are displaced, having any sense of normalcy is huge, especially for your families. So if they can be in a nice property for a few weeks or however long this takes and make it feel like home then why not.”
“I can only imagine how a five-year-old would feel living in a Walmart parking lot right now.”
Wilson says the biggest help is making sure you are ready to leave at a moments notice.
“We really need people to be prepared. It is a volatile situation right now and we really need them to have a plan and have things ready to go if they have to be evacuated.”
For the latest on evacuation orders and alerts, you can head to cordemergency.ca.
Castanet Staff – Aug 16, 2021 / 8:08 pm | Story: 342951
UPDATE: 8 p.m.
The Mount Law wildfire continues to burn at an estimated 800 hectares in size and is out of control.
According to BC Wildfire, cooler temperatures and some light rain are helping on the front lines but extremely dry conditions remain.
An additional 18 properties in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and Peachland have been added to the Evacuation Alert area for the Mount Law Fire.
Properties added to the existing alert area are inclusive of 4740 Trepanier Road (northwest end) to 4980 Trepanier Road (southeast end) and include:
4850 to 4855 MacKinnon Road
4802 to 4995 Trepanier Road
4902 to 4975 Star Place
Residents in the alert areas are advised to be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
The EOC has also expanded an evacuation order onto Crown land in the southeast corner of the fire.
The expansion order does not include any private property. The Gorman Mill site remains under evacuation alert.
All other evacuation alerts and orders remain in effect.
For a map of the affected properties, click here.
UDPATE 6:20 p.m.
Activity at the Mount Law wildfire has subsided significantly from earlier in the day.
High winds have calmed and the fire appears to be mostly smouldering on the ground for the time being. Trees are no longer candling and the smoke plume has reduced.
Some very light rain is moving through the Central Okanagan at the moment.
All evacuation alerts and orders remain in place.
An approximate perimeter of the Mount Law wildfire in Glenrosa
UDPATE 3:55 p.m.
Winds have again picked up again in the Central Okanagan, which will make the job of fire crews battling the Mount Law wildfire more difficult.
The Kelowna Airport is currently reporting northwest 37 km/h winds gusting to 46 km/h.
Environment Canada is forecasting that those winds will continue and gradually die down this evening. There is also the possibility of rain showers in the Interior Monday afternoon with possible lightning as well.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations and BC Wildfire have not released an update on the fire since about noon.
UPDATE 12 p.m.
West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund says a “small number” of structures in Glenrosa were damaged Sunday night by the Mount Law wildfire.
At the peak of the inferno on Sunday night, 25 fire trucks and 80 firefighters from eight municipal fire departments were in Glenrosa battling the flames.
Eight trucks from six departments remain on scene, supported by 22 wildland firefighters, heavy equipment and air suport.
“We are actively fighting fires in the backyards of homes on a number of streets in Upper Glenrosa, and we’ll continue to do that today,” said Brolund, explaining their primary objective is structural protection in the neighbourhood.
Crews worked frantically through the night to build guard around Glenrosa.
Beyond the “small number of structures” that were impacted, Brolund said they were “very successful in the operations last night.”
He could not offer specifics on structural losses.
“Because this is a dynamic and changing situation. Today our focus will remain on firefighting,” he said.
Brolund said the Mount Law fire was putting up heavy ember showers Sunday night and was spotting ahead of itself “on numerous occasions.”
“And that is certainly what drove some of the decisions that were made around the evacuation order areas for example, making sure people were out of the way so that we could do our work in those neighbourhoods that came to pass,” he said.
There was a small group of residents on evacuation order that refused to leave, something fire officials called “concerning,” although it was “nothing to the extent that we saw the other fires regionally.”
One firefighter sustained minor injuries last night, but he will recover.
Brolund said when the fire first broke out in the valley draw between Mount Drought and Mount Law, it ran up the hill quickly burning at rank 4/5, leading for help to be called in from across the region. Fire activity in BC is ranked on a six point scale, with six being the highest.
UPDATE 11:00 a.m.
Wildfire officials and the City of West Kelowna are holding a major information update for 11:30 a.m. Monday morning to update citizens on the progress of the Mount Law wildfire and the White Rock Lake wildfire, both of which continue to burn out of control and are threatening structures and property.
West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund tells Castanet the fire is displaying very aggressive and active behaviour early Monday and officials are asking people to stay clear of the fire areas to allow fire crews and air support to their work.
Air tankers and helicopters are hitting the fire hard from the sky.
The virtual news conference hosted by Central Okanagan Emergency Operations will not be live streamed, but Castanet will provide immediate coverage.
Photo: Okanagan Universe
UPDATE: 9:05 a.m.
It appears some structures may have burned overnight at the Mount Law wildfire in West Kelowna.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says this morning that “early reports indicate limited structural damage” – however, that does not rule out any damage.
Details are still coming in, and so far the complete picture is unclear.
More information will be provided to property owners and the media as it becomes available, the EOC said shortly before 9 a.m.
“Cooler temperatures are forecast for today and tomorrow, but fires remain out of control and are expected to be active today. Central Okanagan and BC Wildfire crews will continue suppression efforts on the ground and in the air today. People are asked to stay away from areas close to the fires to ensure the access and safety of first responders. Boaters should avoid areas of the lake being used by air support.”
Residents in evacuation alert areas are advised to be ready to leave their home at a moment’s notice. They should be prepared to be away from their home for an extended period.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Support Services reception centre at Mount Boucherie Secondary School has closed to streamline operations. Evacuees can pre-register with ESS online at ess.gov.bc.ca.
Residents requiring assistance, including lodging, should report to the reception centre at 1480 Sutherland Ave. in Kelowna, which will be open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Visitors from outside of the Central Okanagan should check DriveBC.ca to confirm highways are open before heading home.
Anyone wishing to check whether friends or family have been evacuated can use the “Find an address or place” search feature on the website at cordemergency.ca/map.
UPDATE: 8:41 a.m.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan has closed six regional parks Monday morning due to the Mount Law wildfire.
Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park, Coldham Regional Park, Goats Peak Regional Park,
Glen Canyon Regional Park, Gellatly Heritage Regional Park, Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park are all closed as of Monday morning.
The Region RDCO Communications officer Bruce Smith says, “for everyone’s safety, please stay out of these parks. If necessary, this will also allow structural and BC Wildfire crews to safely do their work.”
Smith says these parks will remain closed until it is safe to allow visitors once again.
Smith says “we never want to close our parks, but in this case keeping everyone safe and not straining our first fire responder resources is more important.” Smoking, open flames, campfires and any type of barbeque are not allowed in RDCO parks due to the current fire danger.
Many other regional parks remain open are not affected by this closure.
UPDATE: 7:50 a.m.
The BC Wildfire Service says this morning that the Mount Law wildfire above West Kelowna is now estimated at 800 hectares in size.
Further updates to come as the day progresses.
ORIGINAL: 6:25 a.m.
Fire crews from across the region continue to battle the Mount Law wildfire in West Kelowna.
The aggressive fire sparked Sunday evening and quickly grew to 200 hectares in size, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of homes in Glenrosa, Crystal Mountain, Peachland and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.
It continues to burn out of control.
Crews remained on the fire lines overnight.
The fire is suspected to be human-caused and will be under investigation, the BC Wildfire Service said late Sunday.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations described the situation as “dynamic and evolving” about 12:45 a.m.
Trees were candling as the wildfire slowly made its way down the hill above Glenrosa.
The fire is widely visible across the Central Okanagan.
BC Wildfire Service responded with 11 ground personnel, and multiple pieces of heavy equipment on Sunday. Personnel from the West Kelowna and Vernon fire department are also assisting.
Four air tankers and four helicopters worked on the fire until last light.
We will have updates on the situation as more information becomes available this morning.
It’s a tense time for evacuees.
Many who were forced out or decided to leave before they got the evacuation order, parked their RVs at the Walmart in West Kelowna, where they could watch the progress of the Mount Law fire, and see the water bombers and helicopters working to contain the flames.
“We got out early because last time in 2009, when the other fire hit, up above Gorman’s Mill, we got evacuated and it was pretty scary trying to get out with all the traffic backed up. The flames were actually right beside the road and the trees were spontaneously combusting, it was brutal. There were people all over the road. It was just chaos and I didn’t want to go through that again,” said Glen Levanen.
He lives on McLeod Road, just below where the fire was burning but was hopeful crews would get the upper hand.
“I’ve built some of the air tankers right now that are bombing the fire. I work as an aircraft mechanic out at the airport, so I know…it’s risky what they do for a living and I appreciate what they do,” added Levanen.
Other evacuees have not experienced anything like this before.
“Well, in the afternoon we saw the fire coming up over the mountain, well we saw the smoke. So, we had already had some stuff prepared in the event that this happened. My family is new to Okanagan. We moved up here about two years ago, so we haven’t really had any fire experience yet,” said Daniel Hildenbrand, a recent arrival from Chilliwack.
“We were all prepared-ish, but once you get that ten-minute notice you’re kind of put into high gear to get out of there. It was very coordinated with the first responders being on the scene directing everybody, and it was very efficiently run I thought.”
Not everyone had the option to take an RV and find a place to set up. The reception centre at the Salvation Army Community Church in Kelowna was very busy with evacuees from Glenrosa, but also many from Westside Road, chased out by the White Rock Lake fire.
One man who had to leave his home twice said he had more than 120 people ahead of him just to register with Emergency Management BC, and he couldn’t find anywhere to stay in the city, not even a campsite.
Photo: Castanet Staff
Brookhaven Care Centre
Interior Health is updating how it’s dealing with evacuations from long-term and continuing care homes because of nearby wildfires.
Since Friday, residents have been moved out of care homes in several communities, including West Kelowna, Merritt, Armstrong, 100 Mile House and Lillooet.
Families are being contacted directly to be told where the loved ones are being taken.
From West Kelowna, seniors from the Brookhaven long-term care home are being relocated to health authorities in the lower mainland, including Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, and Providence Health.
Village at Smith Creek and Lakeview Lodge residents are being moved primarily to local sites in the community, but some are going to the Lower Mainland.
The West Kelowna Urgent and Primary Care Centre are still open at this time.
From Armstrong, Pleasant Valley Manor residents have gone to the Lower Mainland.
People removed from facilities in Merritt, Lillooet and 100 Mile House are also being placed in Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Providence spaces.
Anyone wishing to confirm a loved one’s current location can call: 1.877.442.2001
A number of West Kelowna residents woke up Monday morning to find big chunks of ash on the ground around their homes.
The ash could be from either the Mount Law wildfire or the White Rock Lake wildfire depending on how the wind blows.
West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund says the Mount Law fire was putting up heavy ember showers Sunday night and was spotting ahead of itself “on numerous occasions.”
“And that is certainly what drove some of the decisions that were made around the evacuation order areas for example, making sure people were out of the way so that we could do our work in those neighbourhoods that came to pass,” he said.
Early Monday morning a West Kelowna resident drove into work in Westbank near the Save On Foods to find large pieces of ash in the parking lot.
“It is certainly concerning when you see ash that size littering the parking lot. It is scary because if that lands on the wrong place it could be dangerous,” he said.
Brolund said the Mount Law fire was displaying very aggressive and active behaviour early Monday. It is estimated at 800 hectares in size.
The White Rock Lake wildfire has previously put up large ember showers, which I one point caused sweeping evacuation alerts for the Vernon area. Fire officials said Monday that the ember shower situation was less dangerous on West Rock Lake fire at the moment.
Rob Gibson – Aug 16, 2021 / 1:15 pm | Story: 342989
Photo: Grant Stovel
Click here to view gallery
Your Mount Law wildfire photos.
The Mount Law wildfire has grown to more than 800 hectares as of Monday after being sparked by a human late Sunday afternoon.
The fire has grown aggressively, fanned by gusting winds.
West Kelowna Fire Chief, Jason Brolund tells Castanet the fire first broke out in the valley draw between Mount Drought and Mount Law, and then quickly ran up the hill burning at rank 4/5, forcing firefighters to put out the call for help across the region. Fire activity in BC is ranked on a six point scale, with six being the highest.
Live updates on the Mount Law fire can be found here.
Send your photos and video to [email protected]
Rob Gibson – Aug 16, 2021 / 11:00 am | Story: 342978
YouTube Broc Popoff,
Castanet reader Broc Popoff captured dramatic time-lapse of the Mount Law wildfire above Glenrosa, which has now grown to 800 hectares in size.
Water bombers and air support are attacking the fire Monday morning as it continues to burn out of control.
West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund tells Castanet the fire is displaying very aggressive and active behaviour early Monday.
Live updates on the Mount Law wildfire can be found here.
Castanet Staff – Aug 16, 2021 / 1:22 am | Story: 342930
UPDATE 1:20 a.m.
This is the final update of the night on the Mount Law wildfire.
Crews from across the region will be battling the flames and working to protect homes overnight.
The next update on this fire will be on Castanet at 6:30 a.m.
Should there be any changes to evacuation orders or alerts prior to that time, they will be posted on the Central Okanagan Regional District’s emergency operations page here.
UPDATE 12:45 a.m.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says the Mount Law wildfire is still a “dynamic and evolving situation.”
Additional evacuation alerts have now been issued for 60 properties, including some within Peachland and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) as follows:
- 4305 to 4495 Maxwell Road
- 5039 to 5051 Trepanier Court
- 4965 to 4975 Venner Court
- 4715 to 5078 Paradise Valley Drive
- 4414 to 4690 Trepanier Road
- 4995 Trepanier Road
- 4850 to 5090 MacKinnon Road
All previous evacuation orders and alerts remain in place.
UPDATE 11:45 p.m.
Trees are candling as the Mount Law wildfire slowly makes its way down the hill above Glenrosa.
Despite the cooler temperatures that came with nightfall, the fire is still burning very hot, as seen on a Castanet live stream.
Municipal fire crews from across the Okanagan Valley are now in West Kelowna to support the fire fight.
UPDATE 11:10 p.m.
Evacuation alerts have been expanded beyond the Glenrosa area due to the Mount Law wildfire.
Additional alerts have now been issued for 226 properties in the area west of Glen Canyon and Goats Peak, inclusive of 3801 Gellatly Road south (north end) to 300 Seclusion Bay Rd (south end), bringing the total on Evacuation Alert to approximately 1,900.
The evacuation order for approximately 460 properties put in place earlier Sunday evening includes all properties east of Gates Rd. to Glenrosa Rd. Residents on evacuation order should leave their properties immediately.
All other properties in the Glenrosa neighbourhood remain on evacuation alert. A map of impacted areas is here.
The Central Okanagan Regional District has relocated its Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for the Mount Law wildfire to Mount Boucherie Secondary, 2751 Cameron Road.
Evacuees will need to check in there to receive support.
An evacuee reception centre at Mount Boucherie Secondary
UPDATE 10:45 p.m.
The Mount Law wildfire, looming over Glenrosa, is now estimated at 200 hectares in size.
The BC Wildfire Service says the fire falls under the jurisdiction of West Kelowna Fire Rescue, but they are supporting with 11 wildland firefighters and multiple pieces of heavy equipment.
In a post to Facebook, West Kelowna Fire Rescue said they are “all hands on deck.”
Municipal fire crews are patrolling and extinguishing spot fires from embers, and working alongside provincial firefighters and police in “helping with evacuations and doing structure protection.”
“We understand people want to see what’s happening with the fire, just PLEASE stay clear of being too close to the area so people can get evacuated safely and police, forestry and West Kelowna firefighters can do their job,” the fire department continued.
Photo: Josh Dayman
View of Mount Law fire from Glenrosa
UPDATE 9:50 p.m.
The Central Okanagan Regional District has expanded evacuation orders related to the Mount Law wildfire.
The fire has now crested the hill above Glenrosa, making flames highly visible to the valley below.
“Additional equipment and firefighters are assisting from throughout the Central Okanagan,” said CORD
The evacuation order has been expanded to include all properties east of Gates Rd. to Glenrosa Rd. Residents on Evacuation Order should leave their properties immediately.
All other properties in the Glenrosa neighbourhood remain on evacuation alert. An interactive map of the impacted areas is here.
Winds at the Kelowna Airport are currently SW 28 km/h, gusting 41 km/h.
UDPATE 9:15 p.m.
The Central Okanagan Regional District has now issued an evacuation alert for the entire Glenrosa neighbourhood due to the Mount Law wildfire.
“Residents in the area are advised to be ready to leave their home at a moment’s notice. They should be prepared to be away from their home for an extended period of time, make arrangements for pets and pack essential items such as medicines and important documents,” the regional district said.
Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and RCMP are assisting with missing evacuation orders to homes closer to the wildfire. Those residents are being asked to leave immediately.
An interactive map of the impacted evacuation order and alert areas is here.
UPDATE 9:10 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service says the Mount Law wildfire is now 40 hectares in size, and growing, due to winds.
Ground crews, air support and assistance from the West Kelowna Fire Department are on scene.
RCMP and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue are issuing evacuations in Upper Glenrosa.
UPDATE 8:20 p.m.
An evacuation order has been issued for parts of Upper Glenrosa due to the Mount Law wildfire.
Residents under evacuation order should leave their properties immediately. The City of West Kelowna has also issued a local state of emergency.
A full list of addresses on evacuation order is here:
- 4713 MacKinnon Road
- 5000 Glenrosa Road (Bull Mountain Resort – formerly Crystal Mountain Resort)
- 4425 Glenrosa Road (Telemark Nordic Club)
- 3237 to 3530 Carre Road
- 3237 to 3512 Corine Road
- 3372 to 3725 Emerald Road
- 3496 Fenton Road
- 3318 to 3475 Gill Road
- 3280 to 3802 Glenrosa Road
- 3301 to 3583 McKellar Road
- 3230 to 3525 Preston Road
- 3325 to 3770 Turnbull Road
A detailed map is available showing affected properties at cordemergency.ca.
“Due to aggressive fire activity and wind conditions, it is anticipated that additional properties may be placed on evacuation order and/or alert later this Sunday evening,” the Central Okanagan Regional District said.
An Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for evacuated residents specific to the Mt. Law wildfire has been set up at Jim Lind Arena located at 2760 Cameron Road, West Kelowna.
Evacuees will still need to visit the ESS Reception Centre in order to receive the appropriate supplier forms as specific paperwork is required in order to access these services. ESS volunteers are available, as needed, to help affected Central Okanagan residents. Residents that are evacuated from their homes must report to the reception centre to receive any assistance and lodging.
UPDATE 7:50 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service has named the fire burning above Highway 97C and Peachland the Mount Law wildfire.
Five air tankers and helicopters are hitting the fire from the air constantly.
The Central Okanagan Regional District says it will be releasing info soon.
UPDATE 7:15 p.m.
At least four water tankers are hitting the wildfire burning above Peachland and the Okanagan Connector.
Helicopters are also bucketing the blaze.
The BC Wildfire Service says hot and dry weather, along with high winds hitting the region, are creating challenges for initial attack crews.
Trees at the fire above Highway 97C and candling and the fire is growing.
UPDATE 6:30 p.m.
Castanet reporter Madison Erhardt says the new wildfire start above Peachland is growing quickly.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan says it has activated its emergency operations centre to manage the situation. More information is expected shortly.
BC Wildfire Service air tankers and helicopters are hitting the fire. West Kelowna Fire Rescue is fighting the blaze on the ground.
Castanet will have more information for you as it becomes available.
UPDATE 6:25 p.m.
The fire has closed the left-hand, westbound lane of Hwy 97C.
One lane is shut between Hwy 97 and Brenda Mine Road.
DriveBC also reports limited visibility with smoke in the area and advises drivers to expect delays.
#BCHwy97C – Limited visibility with smoke has a Westbound lane closure in effect between #BCHwy97 and Brenda Mine road.
Crews on scene. Expect delays.
More info: https://t.co/lEr5WEvVLm#KelownaBC #AspenGroveBC #MerritBC
— DriveBC (@DriveBC) August 16, 2021
UPDATE 5:55 p.m.
A firefighting helicopter has arrived and has started bucketing the new fire burning above Peachland.
UPDATE 5:35 p.m.
Charlene Mortensen with the BC Wildfire Service says the West Kelowna Fire Department is on scene and BCWS is sending crews. A BCWS unit should be on the scene in the next two hours.
ORIGINAL 5.22 p.m.
A new fire has sparked across from the Peachland visitor centre off the Okanagan Connector.
Heavy smoke and flames are visible.
BC Wildfire is aware and are on the way to the scene.
One caller who passed by said he could see trees candling.
At this time it is unclear what sparked the blaze.
Castanet has a reporter headed to the scene and will have more details as they become available.
Photo: Roman Bartos
Click here to view gallery
Shortly before 5 p.m. a new wildfire erupted above the Okanagan Connector and Peachland visitor centre.
The flames grew quickly as crews from West Kelowna rushed to the scene. Air support in the form of tankers and helicopters are hitting the fire hard.
High winds are complicating things for firefighters and parts of Upper Glenrosa are being evacuated.
These are some of the most dramatic reader photos of the Mount Law wildfire.
Send your pictures and videos to [email protected]
More West Kelowna News