Silver Star corridor focus of exercise

The purpose of the exercise is to get a bird’s eye view of potential emergency evacuation routes

The Silver Star Road corridor will be the focus of an evacuation planning exercise Thursday.

The joint planning and aerial reconnaissance will involve the RCMP, Vernon Search and Rescue, the BX-Swan Lake Fire Department and the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Fire Department.

“The purpose of the exercise is to get a bird’s eye view of potential emergency evacuation routes should wildfire threaten properties in the Silver Star corridor, from the Foothills to the switchbacks,” said Ron Baker, community protective services manager with the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“The greatest risk is from a wildfire or a hazardous material spill which may prevent travel on Silver Star Road.”

There are numerous bush trails and forestry roads in the area. Lack of maintenance and unknown conditions, however, raises concerns if being relied upon for evacuations.

That’s a major focus of the aerial reconnaissance by the emergency response agencies responsible for fighting fires and protecting lives,” said Baker.

The RCMP is providing the helicopter for the exercise, with lift-off from the Vernon Airport scheduled to take place 9 a.m. Thursday.