Wildfire Update (23 09 13)

A message from Executive Director Michael Shapcott, Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Sorrento Centre safely re-opens

The Sorrento Centre has completed its plan for a gradual and safe re-opening, with our first overnight guests expected starting Thursday. All our departments – maintenance, grounds, housekeeping, food services, farm and office – are set to welcome groups of artists and scrap-bookers.

BC Wildfire reported on Wednesday that crews on the ground and in the air are continuing to tackle hotspots in the Bush Creek East wildfire on the edge of Sorrento. While the wildfire remains out-of-control, the fire perimeter (which includes machine and hand guards in Sorrento) has remained stable in recent days. 

When the Bush Creek East wildfire roared through the North Shuswap and then the South Shuswap, our Centre was forced to evacuate almost 200 guests on Aug. 18, along with our entire staff team. Eight days later, we were allowed to return, but we remain on evacuation alert, which means we are ready to leave at a moment’s notice. All our staff, our guests and our neighbours are safe.

The wildfire remains active, especially near Sorrento. In recent days, it has been classed as a rank 1 fire, which means most fire behaviour is at ground level and below ground. Hotspots, including ashpits, present a special hazard. Warming and drying conditions, along with unfavourable winds, have caused the fire to flare from time to time.

BC Wildfire has issued this warning: “Although we are entering the fall season, nearby communities can still expect to see smoke within the perimeter over the coming weeks. This is common with large wildfires and will continue until significant rainfall or snowfall. If you see smoke coming from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern. However, smoke rising from green, unburned fuel or from outside a fire’s perimeter should be reported immediately.”

Helicopters are continuing to daily douse the hotspots from above, with water-tank trucks dousing and crews with hand tools dousing from the ground.

The Sorrento Centre continues to monitor fire behaviour and air quality to ensure the health and well-being of our guests, visitors, staff and neighbours. We will publish updates as required over the coming days.

As our staff and our neighbours continue to focus on disaster relief and begin to look towards recovery and re-building, some people are facing the realities of human-induced climate change, which has been triggering extreme weather around the world, including droughts and wildfires in our region.

In hundreds of places around the world, Friday marks a Global Climate Strike. People will be gathering for a peaceful and non-partisan event at 1 pm on Friday in Salmon Arm at Ross Street Plaza. More info here: https://www.shuswapclimate.org

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