A fire attack helicopter dumps a load of water on the Testalinden Creek fire

A fire attack helicopter dumps a load of water on the Testalinden Creek fire

UPDATED: RDOS upgrades alerts to fire evacuation orders

After expanding the evacuation alert area earlier today, the RDOS has upgraded some areas of rural Oliver to an evacuation order.

Update: The recreational areas around Burnell (Sawmill) Lake, Ripley Lake and Madden Lake, to the west of Oliver, BC, have been placed within an expanded Evacuation Order issued earlier today. The Regional District is asking that people stay away from all Crown Land areas south of Orofino Creek Road in the Burnell (Sawmill) Lake, Ripley Lake and Madden Lake areas.

—————-

After expanding the evacuation alert area earlier today (Aug. 28) the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has upgraded some areas of rural Oliver to an evacuation order due to the Testalinden Creek wildfire.

The evacuation order is in effect for: properties along Fairview Road; properties at 1057 Old Golf Course Road; properties along Willowbrook Road and areas of provincial Crown Lands including the Burnell (Sawmill) Lake area.

Full details of the evacuation order are available online at EmergencyInfoBC.

Despite an expanded evacuation alert area for the Testalinden Creek fire, Sandra Oldfield says it’s business as usual at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

“It hasn’t yet crested the fold in the mountainside for us to see it above our winery. We see the smoke, but we don’t see the fire itself,” said Oldfield, winemaker and owner of the winery.

Due to the potential of increased winds and wildfire growth in the uplands of Kobau Mountain, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen expanded the evacuation alert for the Testalinden Creek fire area northwards this morning. Properties along Tinhorn Creek, Old Golf Course Road, West Avenue, Cellar Road, Chokecherry Lane, the west side of Sumac Street and portions of Fairview Road and Willowbrook Road are now under evacuation alert.

The Regional District asks residents within the evacuation alert area to be prepared to evacuate if required. Residents in these areas will be contacted informing them of steps to take to prepare for potential evacuation. The total number of homes or properties placed under evacuation alert due to the Testalinden Creek Wildfire is now 285.

Four properties falling under this expanded Testalinden Creek evacuation alert were recently evacuated due to the Wilsons Mountain Fire. The Wilsons Mountain Fire evacuation alert was rescinded earlier this week.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the Testalinden fire is considered 60 per cent contained, covering an estimated 3,170 hectares.

Shifting winds have increased activity on the fire this evening and smoke with open flame is visible from Oliver and along Highway 97, as combustible material burns on the slopes around Testalinden and Hester Creeks. Due to gusty winds Wednesday night the NW flank has progressed north to the head of Tinhorn Creek. BC Wildfire Service personnel continue their efforts around the clock using heavy equipment, air support and all available resources on this NW flank.

Oldfield, who was preparing to meet a tour group when she spoke to the Western News, said Tinhorn and other wineries in the area remain open for visitors have even begun picking grapes, about 2.5 weeks ahead of usual, thanks to this summer’s weather.

“There is a natural stoppage for this fire as it starts hitting properties,” said Oldfield, listing green vineyards, irrigation, roadways around the properties and natural breaks in the terrain.

“For me, I think the likelihood is low that we will have any immediate problems with the fire. On the other side of things, both the fire department and our winery are really well prepared,” said Oldfield, who isn’t taking the danger casually.

“If I sound calm, it is because we have rehearsed this a lot. At Tinhorn, we have a super rigorous health and safety program. We have been rehearsing evacuations off our property twice a year for the last five years,” said Oldfield, adding that the winery has received top honours from Worksafe B.C. for its programs.

“All of our employees are familiar with how to evacuate and how to evacuate customers. It is something we practice all the time,” she said.

The fire department also visits regularly to ensure that preparations have been made, like cutting back weeds and having water connections available.

“They’ve taken a look at rooftops, cedars and all the rest. They have been doing this for two or three days now on the property. It is just a wild amount of preparation,” said Oldfield.

Southerly winds are shifting aiding in lifting of the heavy smoke from the Washington fires. This will allow increase use of air support and assist with fire fighting efforts. Eleven helicopters and 204 personnel continue to work towards establishing containment.

Residents and agriculturists along the Crown Land interface are advised to water interface areas up to 3 hours each day. Residents and agriculturists outside the evacuation alert area within the Oliver area are asked to conserve water as much as possible to ensure water is available for firefighting.

Anyone with health concerns related to smoke can visit www.interiorhealth.ca or call 8-1-1 for Health Link BC.

Upon notification of an alert, residents should be prepared for the evacuation order by:

 

  • Locating all family members or co-workers and designate a Reception Centre outside the evacuation area, should an evacuation be called while separated.
  • Gathering essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc.). Have these items readily available for quick departure.
  • Preparing to move any disabled persons and/or children.
  • Making arrangements to move pets and livestock to a safe area.
  • Arranging accommodation for your family if possible. In the event of an evacuation, reception centres will be opened if required.

 

Information on the alert is posted at: http://www.rdos.bc.ca, call 250-492-0237 or toll-free 1-877-610-3737.

 

Just Posted

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Suspected Naramata homicide victim identified by police

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

(File photo)
Reports of aggressive deer in Penticton prompt warning from city

Expect female deer to be more aggressive over the next two months

(File photo)
Mobile drop-in vaccination clinic coming to Oliver

All those in the Oliver area who have not yet received their first dose are eligible for the vaccine

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read