‘Worst-case nightmare’: Multiple homes, structures lost to White Rock Lake wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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‘Worst-case nightmare’: Multiple homes, structures lost to White Rock Lake wildfire

Anthony Morgan's property was destroyed by wildfire Friday night, Aug. 6, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Anthony Morgan
August 08, 2021 - 3:54 PM

A man who lives on the westside of Okanagan Lake has lost almost everything to the White Rock Lake wildfire.

Anthony Morgan said his house on Beau Park Road, his father’s house, their shops, two neighbouring homes, a saw mill and 35 acres of Douglas Fir timber were destroyed by the blaze when it roared through the community Friday night, Aug. 6.

READ MORE: Cooler temperatures, rain helping firefighters on White Rock Lake wildfire

“It’s nuked, it’s flat, the trees are just skeletons,” said Morgan, who is an arborist by trade. He decided to stay behind, despite being on an evacuation order because he said he didn’t trust the B.C. Wildfire Service and structural protection crews.

“This is honestly a worst-case nightmare, this is what we were preparing for,” he said.

On Friday night, Morgan stayed at a friend’s house in the area as his house burned down.

“We’re doing everything we can at this point to save what we got because there’s no help out here, there’s no ground crews. There’s lots of spot fires still,” he said.

His brother’s house survived the blaze. On Friday night, there was one helicopter in the air but Morgan said he didn’t see anyone try to save his house.

Morgan came prepared for the fire, with pumps, fire trucks and hoses on site, he said. “We spent thousands plumbing our own irrigation and sprinklers and having volumes of water.”

Some of the equipment from his business has been saved but he does not have insurance on his house, he said.

“It sucks, but to get insurance out here would probably be pretty unlikely with the cost of it, where we are,” he said.

B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Forrest Tower said there were wildfire firefighters and structure protection crews in the area Friday night.

There are 125 structural protection crews along Westside Road with others being located in Monte Lake, he said. On that night, crews were also battling fire in the Monte Lake area.

“This is a very extremely challenging fire in that any direction it spreads, it is affecting private property, or large communities. If it’s going directly east, there’s Vernon. If it’s south, there’s Kelowna, north is Armstrong, northeast is Chase, west is Kamloops so really any direction this fire spreads it could have a very negative impact so prioritization on this is definitely tricky,” Tower said.

There are currently 150 wildfire crews, 125 structural protection crews plus administration and support staff on the wildfire.

“If this was the only fire in the province, you’d likely see several hundred firefighters," he said, but there are multiple complex fires burning in B.C. and in other parts of Canada.

“There’s not always enough resources to put on everyone’s house.”

Wildfire crews don’t have the training to engage in structural protection, he said, which is why regional districts and municipalities handle structure protection.

 


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