OK Centre ablaze

UPDATE: 9:41 p.m.

The fire is now 30 hectares in size and is exhibiting rank 3 behaviour, meaning it's a vigorous surface fire with some candling, according to fire information officer Justine Hunse.

BC Wildfire Service crews are supporting the Lake Country Fire Department in their fire suppression efforts.

UPDATE: 9:30 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is asking boaters to stay away from the Okanagan Centre area and off Kal and Wood lakes to allow aerial firefighting crews to work on Okanagan Centre fire.

UPDATE: 9:05 p.m.

There are unconfirmed reports of multiple homes lost as a result of the wildfire burning in Okanagan Centre.

Reporters at the scene say a thick fog of smoke is now hanging over Lake Country.

Bombers and skimmers continue to work the fire from the air.

UPDATE: 7:35 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is working on getting an exact map of those addresses evacuated in Okanagan Centre due to today's wildfire.

Tactical evacuations were done in the field, so it could be later this evening before an exact list of addresses is available.

Spokesman Bruce Smith says, unofficially, between 100 and 150 properties have been evacuated.

Smith says that number is fluid and will change throughout the evening.

One homeowner spoke with Castanet News and said he is not going anywhere despite being asked to.

"I'm not going anywhere. I have 12 horses here, I'm staying," he said.

UPDATE: 7:09 p.m.

Fire information officer Melanie Morin confirmed the fire is now estimated at 20 hectares.

BC Wildfire crews and fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are on scene, along with the local fire department.

Morin confirmed that structures are threatened at this time.

UPDATE: 6:55 p.m.

A steady stream of cars are leaving Lake Country as residents flee flames from a wildfire.

Witnesses say there are numerous farms in the area with sheep, horses, donkeys and other animals. Residents are scrambling to get their animals out of the area.

At least one resident said he is not leaving.

UPDATE: 6:52 p.m.

An Emergency Support Services reception centre is open for residents evacuated as a result of the fire in Lake Country.

ESS volunteers are available to help register residents now at the existing reception centre at the Kelowna Salvation Army Church, 1480 Sutherland Ave. at Burtch Road and Sutherland Avenue.  Those people out of their homes must attend the reception centre in person to register for assistance and group lodging.

UPDATE: 6:11 p.m.

The Emergency Operations Centre has been activated to support Lake Country fire crews fighting a spreading grass fire in Okanagan Centre.

A tactical evacuation is underway for some homes in the area of the fire along Okanagan Centre Road West.

Ground and air crews are involved in fighting the blaze reported shortly after 4:30 this afternoon.

New information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

Emergency response personnel request that the public:

  • Avoid the Okanagan Centre Road West area so emergency responders can effectively perform their duties
  • Monitor cordemergency.ca for confirmed information about the situation
  • Call 9-1-1 only in case of emergency

Monitor cordemergency.cafacebook.com/CORDEmergency or twitter.com/CO_Emerg for confirmed information about the situation

UPDATE: 6:04 p.m.

Homes on several streets in the area are now being evacuated, according to a reporter at the scene.

At least one home has been confirmed lost.

UPDATE: 5:57 p.m.

Residents are telling Castanet the fire started on Nighthawk Road before being blown up the hillside.

There are unconfirmed reports a home may have been damaged by the flames.

UPDATE: 5:48 p.m.

Michael Beck was heading to the lake to go for a float when he saw the flames.

“It definitely started down by the water,” said Beck. “It jumped across the road and the hillside was on fire.”

Beck said a strong wind coming off the lake pushed the flames up the hillside.

“Within a matter of seconds it took off,” he said. “It wasn't very wide. It was like a straight line going up the hill. It was about 20 feet wide.”

Beck then warned motorists about the fire and urged them to turn around.

Currently at least one air tanker and members of the local fire department are battling the blaze.

“We are hearing fire trucks non-stop,” he said, noting the fire began at around 5 p.m.

Beck said there are homes on the other side of the hill, but he did not now how close the fire was to any structures.

“It looked like the fire was at the top of the hill. Hopefully it won't get down into the houses,” he said.

UPDATE: 5:18 p.m.

Melanie Morin, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, confirmed there is a fire on the east side of Okanagan Lake, with the current location being Nighthawk Road.

The fire is north of McKinley Landing, she said, and BC Wildfire crews along with the local fire department are responding.

Castanet will provide more updates as they become available.

ORIGINAL: 5:07 p.m.

Castanet is receiving reports of a fire starting Saturday afternoon north of Carrs Landing in Lake Country.

Several witnesses are reporting smoke in the area.

We will provide updates as they become available.

More Kelowna News