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Kelowna  

Where the fire started

Dramatic video shows the very beginnings of the destructive wildfire that ripped through Okanagan Centre over the weekend.

Video shot by Joe Delehay shows the fire just minutes after it began, climbing uphill from Okanagan Centre Road, along the shore of Okanagan Lake.

Delehay and his girlfriend, Jean-Anne Hawse, live only a few minutes north of the scene and were alerted by Joe's sister, who lives across the lake.

"She called and said there's smoke," said Hawse, "so we jumped in the truck and drove down.

"It was only about four minutes away. You could see where it had started on the beach and jumped over the road. A young lady was stopping traffic, and you could see it was starting to head up the hill."

Hawse said they got there just after the fire had crossed the road.

"It was very scary. We've been through this a couple of times before. The wind was just whipping up the waves, so we knew it was going to be bad."

Meanwhile, Kamloops resident Kevin Baitz was boating with his family when he saw the fire from the water.

The waves were getting high and he was having a tough time navigating when one of his kids spotted what looked like a campfire.

"Then, all of a sudden, it shot up like a fuse," said Baitz. "It was so fast."

"We could see the point where it started, and as it went up, it just fanned out," he said.

"All of sudden the mountain was on fire."

They raced over to Lake Okanagan Resort to dock and yelled for staff to call 911.

"'Houses are going to burn down!' we yelled."

Baitz said from the time he saw the fire, it was only about 20 minutes before homes were burning.

"We saw black plumes of smoke as the houses were lighting up," he said.

A few minutes later, firetrucks arrived, and he said it was about 45 minutes by the time water bombers arrived.



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