Wildfire Update (23 09 20)

A message from Executive Director Michael Shapcott, Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Let it rain! Let it rain!!

Rain during the day on Tuesday and then overnight came as a blessing and a relief as the Bush Creek East wildfire continues to burn near the Sorrento Centre and our farm. The rain knocked the smoke out of the sky – and Environment Canada rescinded its air quality alert.

The 45,613 hectare wildfire is classified as out-of-control by BC Wildfire, though the fire perimeter has not grown much in recent days.

Here is the latest from BC Wildfire for Wednesday: “Winds have died down, precipitation fell overnight and hit most areas on the fire. Rates of spread have decreased but, with high drought codes, the rain has only slowed fire spread in the short term. The fire has dug in deep, and extinguishing the fire will continue to be a challenge. Precipitation fell on most areas of the fire overnight. This will help to keep fire activity low today, which will help with suppression efforts over the next couple of days.”

Helicopters were flying over Sorrento once again on Wednesday (as they have been daily), bringing water from the Shuswap to douse the wildfire. Attack firefighters on the ground are tackling hot spots in the roots and below ground-level.

While the rain and reduced winds are welcome, the wildfire is a threat. Our Centre remains under evacuation alert, which means we are ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.  

The Sorrento Centre has safely re-opened and welcomed several groups of overnight and day guests. We have day and multi-day events scheduled into the fall and winter. Please check www.sorrentocentre.ca as some events have been modified or postponed due to the wildfire.   

When the Bush Creek East wildfire roared through North Shuswap and then South Shuswap, our Centre was forced to evacuate almost 200 guests on Aug. 18, along with staff and our neighbours. Eight days later, we were allowed to return.

While we continue to monitor fire behaviour and air quality to ensure the well-being of our guests, staff and neighbours, we are moving to recovery and re-building. Many of our neighbours, especially in the North Shuswap and nearby Squilax, lost homes and other buildings. Their lives and livelihoods have been severely disrupted.

We are also turning our minds to healing – healing individual lives severely impacted by the wildfire; as well as healing the broken relationship between humans and Mother Nature.

The Sorrento Centre will continue to publish updates as required over the coming days.

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