'We did our best'

UPDATE: 5:50 p.m.

A destructive wildfire in Lake County was human caused.

The Emergency Operations Centre says no lightning was recorded in the area and that the BC Wildfire Service and RCMP have launched an investigation.

Impacted property owners attended a meeting earlier today to receive information and support.

Fire crews from across the Okanagan continue to work on the 55-hectare Okanagan Centre blaze. The fire is 50 per cent contained by hand guard and surrounded 80 per cent by retardant, the EOC says.

Lake Country fire crews are receiving help from fire departments in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Ellison and Joe Rich as well as support from the BC Wildfire Service, BC Ambulance and RCMP.

An evacuation order for 331 properties includes homes along Okanagan Centre Road West, Nighthawk and Tyndall roads. 

Residents of 657 properties are on evacuation alert and must be prepared to leave on short notice. 

ORIGINAL: 5:20 p.m.

Lake Country's fire chief says his crews did everything they could.

At a press conference Sunday evening at the Okanagan Centre fire station, Steve Windsor said Saturday's wildfire "escalated very quickly."

Windsor confirmed eight homes were destroyed by fire on Nighthawk Road and one outbuilding on Tyndall Road. Earlier reports were as many as 10 homes had been lost.

"We did everything possible to save people's homes and property," he said. "We did our best."

He said there is still fire burning below some homes on Nighthawk.

Windsor said all evacuation orders and alerts remain in place, and the fire remains 80 per cent contained.

He said there have been some flare-ups today, and that crews will continue to work round the clock on spot fires.

After the news conference, media are expected to be taken on a bus tour of the fire area.

Stay tuned to Castanet for more details.

– with files from Kate Bouey

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