UPDATE: Lake Country fire now 75 per cent contained

Emergency officals hold a wildfire press conference in Lake Country.

UPDATE: 9:48 a.m.

The Okanagan Centre wildfire is now 75 per cent contained. Emergency responders worked through the night putting out spot fires and stopping flare-ups during windy conditions. The fire is estimated at 50.3 hectares in size.

An Evacuation Order remains in place for Nighthawk Road, Long Rd, Tyndall Road from south of 10810 to the end of the pavement. As well, Jack Seaton Park is closed. This order involves approximately 69 properties.

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UPDATE: 11:00p.m.

The evacuationorder for Nighthawk Road, Long Rd, Tyndall Road from south of 10810 to the end of the payment remains in effect. As well, Jack Seaton Park is closed.

These areas within the Okanagan Centre wildfireare still within an active fire area. When it is safe to remove this order, residents from approximately 69 properties will be allowed home.

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The fire in Lake Country is now estimated at 55 hectares, 50 per cent contained with a there is an 80 per cent retardant ring.

Emergency officials gathered in Lake Country Sunday afternoon to update residents and the media on the status of the wildfire that started Saturday afternoon about 4:30 p.m.

Fire Chief Steve Windsor says there have been no injuries reported eight houses are gone on Nighthawk Road and one out building on Tyndall Road.

“We never want to lose property, it is against our nature as firefighters,” explained Windsor.

Firefighters did the best they could against the fast moving flames on steep terrain near Nighthawk. Fire hydrants along that road also contributed significantly to the firefighting effort.

Windsor described the situation on Saturday as a tactical evacuation, meaning they were literally knocking on doors telling people to leave immediately as the flames approached their homes.

“My understanding is we have contacted everyone who has lost their home. We did everything possible to save and protect people’s homes but it was a rapidly moving fire, fanned by strong winds and racing uphill very quickly in steep terrain that was difficult to access,” Windsor said.

An evacuation order remains in effect for 331 properties within the Okanagan Centre area.

“We want to get people back to their homes as quickly as possible but only when it is safe to do so,” said Windsor, noting that spot fires are still burning within the fire zone.

Officials forced a tactical evacuation on Saturday as the fire quickly approached homes, giving residents no time to prepare.

Residents who attended the conference at Fire Hall Station #71 were able to listen to the updates on the situations but were not allowed to ask questions.

Some were concerned with the level of security in place while the evacuation order remains in place, and Windsor said the RCMP continue to maintain roadblocks to not permit anyone inside the fire zone.

MP for Kelowna-Lake Country Stephen Fuhr also joined residents and the media for a tour of the devastation.

Lake Country fire crews are receiving help today from neighbouring fire departments in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Ellison and Joe Rich. BC Wildfire Service firefighters, BC Ambulance and the RCMP are also contributing.

The fire was human caused as no lightning was recorded in the area. BC Wildfire Services and the RCMP have an investigation underway.

Windsor said that investigation will be carried out by RCMP arson investigators and forest service fire experts.

More to come.

Posted by District of Lake Country on Sunday, July 16, 2017

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