Winds, fire calmer

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.

Readers in the area say conditions have calmed substantially.

During a media tour of the area, a light breeze was blowing and the fire seemed to have died down somewhat.

ORIGINAL: 3:50 p.m.

Fire activity in Okanagan Centre appears to picking up again as evening winds fan the flames.

Several Castanet readers report the fire has grown in intensity in the last hour.

Black smoke can be seen from the waterfront, coming from the hill above.

"Lake fire active again right now! Very close up the bank from where the fire started on lakeshore," Jean-Anne Hawse said at about 3:20 p.m.

“We’re still doing a lot of structural protection. A lot of homes are still threatened,” Lake Country Fire Chief Steve Windsor told CTV this afternoon. “(There is) very steep topography here and the fire is actually burning below a number of them.”

Across the province, about 3,000 personnel are working under the BC Wildfire Service, including 400 people from other provinces and 1,000 contract firefighters.

Emergency Management BC says 6,700 households have registered with the Canadian Red Cross. Of those, about 5,400 have so far received a $600 relief payment from the provincial government.

So far this fire season, wildfire-fighting efforts have totalled $81 million, the BC Wildfire Service says.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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