Officials in the Central Okanagan are shifting their attention from wildfire response to recovery, although crews continue to fight the 126 square kilometre blaze that’s destroyed or significantly damaged nearly 200 properties. West Kelowna fire Chief Jason Brolund says the McDougall Creek fire is burning out of control but the battle against the blaze is now in the hills above the city. He says the damage caused by the fire nearly two weeks ago is particularly severe in the West Kelowna Estates neighbourhood, where many homes have been lost and the entire power supply system will likely need to be rebuilt. Brolund says other neighbourhoods may have suffered less structural damage to properties but they remain off-limits to evacuated residents due to unsafe roads or burnt trees creating additional hazards.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Mike McCulley says crews battling the Bush Creek East blaze that destroyed or damaged nearly 170 properties in the Shuswap region are hoping tonight will bring rain to aid their efforts. He says it’s unclear how much rain could fall as the last amounts varied widely across the 430 square kilometre fire, from just one millimetre to 15. McCulley says the fire has caused a “massive amount of damage” in the region, littered with burned hydro poles and downed power lines. John MacLean, director of the emergency operations centre for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, says staff began reaching out Monday to residents whose properties have been affected by the wildfire.

The BC government is reminding drivers that Highway 1 remains closed between Boston Bar and Lytton as the Kookipi Creek wildfire burns in the Fraser Canyon, where B-C Hydro crews are working to restore damaged power lines and poles. The Ministry of Transportation says highways 3, 5 and 99 are alternative routes between the Lower Mainland and the Interior. A 70 kilometre stretch of Highway 37 between the Beaver Dam and Border rest areas in northern BC is also subject to closure on short notice due to wildfire, though it’s currently open to single-lane alternating traffic. In the Shuswap, Squilax (sk-WHY’-lax) Anglemont Road is closed to all but evacuees and emergency personnel due to the Bush Creek East blaze.

A recent report released by BC Ferries shows about four in 10 cancelled sailings during the last fiscal year stemmed from the company’s staffing woes. The report found that about 11 hundred of more than 28-hundred cancellations from April 2022 to March 2023 were due to crew shortages. That figure is more than double the 522 crew-related cancellations in the previous fiscal year, and just 25 crew related cancellations in the 2020 fiscal year. Officials with BC Ferries have said the company is dealing with a skilled worker shortage, an increase in sick calls and an aging workforce.

Amid a drought that’s prompted a prohibition on lawn watering in Metro Vancouver, it may raise suspicions if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But the secret could be a fresh coat of spray paint. Tyler Basham, owner of Tinted Turf Grass Solutions in Langley, says he’s been busy since launching his lawn-painting business in June. He describes the paint as long-lasting, safe and biodegradable and says it costs about 200 to 250 dollars to cover a typical residential lawn.