'Numerous homes lost'

Homes were lost in Okanagan Centre Saturday night and the activity continued into the early morning hours of Sunday.

“There have been numerous homes lost. We are trying to ascertain how many,” said Lake Country Fire Chief Steve Windsor just before midnight. “It is dark and difficult to get a correct number but the hardest hit is Nighthawk Road.”

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) based in Kelowna said up to ten structures have been reported burned.

The RCMP were manning roadblocks overnight.

“We have an active fire going. I am advising people not to try to sneak around the roadblocks.”

Windsor said aircraft can't work the fire when people are in the way. He also asked boaters to stay away from that area on the east side of Okanagan Lake.

“We have a lot of ground firefighting going on,” Windsor said, expressing some relief that winds had died down from earlier in the day. “There was a lot of candling going on.”

At least 60 structural firefighters were still on the scene in the middle of the night.

“We have firefighters from as far south as Peachland and as far north as Armstrong and BX/Swan Lake. We have firefighters from Kelowna and West Kelowna.”

There were also firefighters from Ellison and Joe Rich fire departments. 

Windsor said the BC Wildfire Service had also sent in three initial attack crews.

Numerous aircraft have also fought the wildfire which started midafternoon on Saturday.

“We did a tactical evacuation to begin with. There was very little push back from people. They could see the smoke and the fire. A few wanted to stay behind.”

Windsor said the RCMP and search and rescue volunteers followed up with a door-to-door evacuation order.

Residents from approximately 330 properties were evacuated from several roads within the Okanagan Centre area of Lake Country, according to the EOC. Another 657 are on evacuation alert.

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