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Is Kelowna ready for fire anniversary?

Kelowna City Council has a dilemma it will have to wrestle with over the next few months.

Does it commemorate the anniversary of a fire that destroyed more than 240 homes or let the moment pass?

This coming August marks the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.

The fire forced the evacuation of about 30,000 people in the upper and lower Mission areas, claimed 244 homes and destroyed thousands of hectares of forest land.

Councillor Maxine DeHart addressed the issue in Council Chambers Monday afternoon.

The councillor says she was asked by a resident if the city would be doing something to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Firestorm.

DeHart says she first thought the city should do something.

"Something weird happened - that night we happened to go out with a couple that had been affected. Their house was one of the first to be burned in the fire. They had 20 minutes to evacuate," says DeHart.

"I happened to ask her because there were mixed emotions through council and through people I talked to. They said, 'we would really like to forget it.'"

DeHart says she doesn't know how others feel but, wanted to bring it to the table after hearing varying opinions.

"Hopefully we'll get some feedback from the community," added Mayor, Walter Gray.

"I guess some people don't want to be reminded of it, they have gotten on with their lives. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks whether we do or don't acknowledge the 10th anniversary."



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