Okanagan Centre fire human caused says Lake Country fire chief

A burned out house on Nighthawk Road in Okanagan Centre.

Fire officials confirmed tonight the still-active Okanagan Centre fire was human caused although Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor refused to name an ignition source.

Windsor also said a planning exercise conducted in the area about three weeks ago updated his crews on where the municipal fire connections were located in the steeply-sloped heavily wooded area.

“That helped us out a lot,” Windsor added, during a media tour of the Nighthawk Road where the eight houses destroyed during the fire were located.

The wildfire broke out Saturday evening and grew quickly fanned by strong west winds.

Windsor said the fire started in an unoccupied area on the shores of Okanagan Lake south of Okanagan Centre but said speculation of a campfire as the source is unconfirmed.

An investigation will continue into the cause of the fire, he said.

Windsor addressed the media and a group of evacuated Lake Country residents, who were still waiting for news of the condition of their homes.

While the owners of the eight destroyed homes have already been contacted, other homeowners nearby were looking for information about possible damage and when they might expect to return home.

With the fire still active, the chief had nothing to offer them, confirming the evacuation order for 331 properties and evacuation alert for another 657 in the area remain in effect.

The fire is said to be 50 per cent contained by a hand guard and 80 per cent surrounded by a fire retardant line.

Kelowna Lake Country MP Steve Fuhr was along for the media tour and said the federal government remains committed to aiding fire -fighting efforts here and across B.C. although a request has to come from the province.

Burned cars in a garage.
Burned cars in a garage.

Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor talks to the media.
Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor talks to the media.

A fire truck is covered with fire retardant.
A fire truck is covered with fire retardant.

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