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Wildfire was intentional

Contributed

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

A wildfire that destroyed eight homes and a garage in Okanagan Centre was intentionally set.

At a news conference Wednesday, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said police have opened a criminal arson investigation into the July 15 fire, which also forced more that 300 people out of their homes.

Moskaluk wouldn't say what led investigators to that conclusion, stating it was not a careless act.

"Through the course of this investigation and the findings we have compiled, we are conclusively stating this was a case of arson," said Moskaluk.

Police are reaching out to the public to help find those responsible.

Specifically, Moskaluk says police are looking to speak with a group of people who were camping in a recreation site near where the fire started on Okanagan Centre Road.

He said police want to speak with those people to determine if they witnessed any activity related to the fire.

"We are also interested in reviewing any cellphone footage or pictures that may have been captured that day by boaters or those who were on land, including any dashcam footage travelling in the area," said Moskaluk.

"Also, any residents who have closed circuit TV footage that was recorded the day of the fire, we would be interested in reviewing the footage."

Anyone with information is asked to contact a police tip line dedicated to this investigation at 250-707-8025.

Moskaluk said more than a dozen tips were received on that line when it was first set up last week.

Anyone convicted of arson can face a maximum sentence of life in prison. They can also be made to pay costs incurred in suppressing the fire.


UPDATE: noon

RCMP say the devastating Okanagan Centre wildfire was intentionally set.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said police are investigating the blaze as a criminal act.

They want to speak to a group of adults who were recreating in the area and any possible witnesses.

They are also seeking any public cellphone video or surveillance camera footage from homes in the area.


ORIGINAL: 10:15 a.m.

Kelowna RCMP have called a news conference for noon today to provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the Okanagan Centre wildfire.

Police have been investigating after it was determined the fire was human caused.

The wildfire broke out late in the afternoon of Saturday, July 15.

Eight homes and a garage were destroyed by the fire.

About 330 homes were evacuated, while another 657 were placed on evacuation alert.



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