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Kelowna  

2. Feeling fire's wrath

A raging wildfire that turned out to be arson destroyed eight Lake Country homes in July.

The Okanagan Centre Wildfire tore through homes after sweeping quickly uphill from Okanagan Centre Road, and sparked evacuations across the community.

The July 15 fire destroyed eight homes and a garage, leaving hundreds with nowhere to go.

RCMP later confirmed the fire was intentionally set, and a criminal arson investigation has been ongoing for several months. 

Police called for video surveillance footage in hopes of catching the firebug, and a dedicated tip line was set up at 250-707-8025.

The fire quickly spread, fanned by late-afternoon winds, burning dwellings on Nighthawk Road and cresting the ridge, burning into Jack Seaton Park and forcing the evacuation of 331 properties. Hundreds more were on evacuation alert.

Dozens of firefighters from as far as Peachland, Armstrong and BX/Swan Lake, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Ellison and Joe Rich were called in to help battle the flames.

The BC Wildfire Service sent in three initial attack crews and fought the flames with water and retardant bombers as well as bucket helicopters.

Initially, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk reached out to the public in hopes of speaking to a group of people who were camping in a waterfront recreation site near where the fire started on Okanagan Centre Road.

Investigators say there is no new information in the case. 

Anyone convicted of arson can face a maximum sentence of life in prison. They can also be made to pay costs incurred in suppressing the fire.



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