The aggressive White Rock Lake wildfire is threatening several homes on the North Westside, but some residents are refusing to leave in the face of evacuation orders.
Emergency officials are urging those who have been ordered evacuated but haven’t already left their homes to leave as soon as possible, or risk putting themselves in danger.
Many residents in the Westshore Estates community have not left their homes despite being under an evacuation order. The evacuation order was issued on Aug.1 by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) and a state of local emergency has been issued in the area.
“Evacuation orders are very serious. It means that there is an imminent threat to the area, and we would encourage everybody to leave immediately if they are in an area under an evacuation order,” said Central Okanagan Emergency Operations information officer Jodie Foster.
Foster didn’t know what kind of information is being shared in the community but stresses the importance of checking the CORD website for updated information on evacuation orders. The website also has a map for those who aren’t sure if they are under an evacuation order.
“Evacuation orders are in place to protect residents and put them out of harm’s way… Protection of homes and structures in the area are done in coordination with BC Wildfire and structural protection crews. They are experts in that area. Let the professionals do the work,” said Foster.
The White Rock Lake fire is estimated to be 32,500 hectares in size and has seen aggressive behaviour in the past few days. It still remains out of control as of Thursday, Aug. 5.