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What B.C. wildfire evacuees need to know upon returning home

Garden food should be discarded, pools should be drained and cleaned

Now that 223 property owners in the Anarchist Mountain area, north of Osoyoos, have been told they can return home, there are important things to consider when going back to your property, said the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) who started handing out Welcome Back Home kits.

Anarchist residents have been out of their home since July 20, when the Osoyoos Nk’Mip wildfire started climbing the mountain and threatening their homes.

Dozens of crews from BC Wildfire, volunteer fire halls and Anarchist Mountain firefighters have been working day and night to protect those properties.

But the RDOS says there are things residents need to do before stepping back into your home.

READ MORE: Nk’Mip fire grows to over 16,000 hectares

For instance, if you grow things in your garden, Interior Health highly discourages you from consuming those fruits and vegetables. IH recommends you either compost or discard any garden food.

- If you have a pool, it needs to be drained and cleaned. Fire retardant might have been used around your home.

-Also, walk the whole perimeter of your home to make sure there aren’t any dangers or hazards. Check the exterior of your home for any changes such as windows closed or open or fire debris that needs to be removed.

-Any burnt materials need to be placed aside for at least two weeks to ensure no re-ignition before being placed into any curbside collection.

-If there is any damage to your home or property, contact your home insurance provider to discuss your coverage.

-Fortis BC is in the process of re-energizing and re-pressurizing the electrical and natural gas systems. The crews will be focusing on the main lines and then restoring gas and electrical services to individual homes. Fortis crews may continue working in the area during the re-entry.

- If your fridge/freezer has lost power –your food has spoiled–please contact your local waste collection provider.

- Your local water purveyor will be monitoring the water system.

- There will be agencies coordinating cleanup and maintenance of roads, ditches and culverts.

On Wednesday, July 28, the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre deployed a rapid damage assessment team to confirm damage to structures in Electoral Area C due to the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire.

The RDOS has contacted three property owners directly and can confirm two principal residences, an RV and a number of outbuildings were destroyed in the fire. Police and residents have also confirmed that some pets and livestock have died in this fire.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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