Smoke rising Saturday night from Okanagan Landing. -Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Fire 80% contained

Now believed up to 10 structures have been lost to Okanagan Centre wildfire.

9 a.m.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations is reporting that up to 10 structures have sustained damage from the Okanagan Centre fire.

Detailed and more accurate assessments will be done to confirm the damage estimate later today.

The evacuation order for 331 properties within the Okanagan Centre area including homes along Okanagan Centre West, Nighthawk and Tyndall Roads remains in affect, while residents of 657 other properties remain on evacuation alert.

Evacuated residents are requested to register at the Emergency Support Services reception centre if they haven’t already done so. The reception centre is open at the Salvation Army Church in Kelowna, 1480 Sutherland Ave.

Lake Country firefighting crews continue to receive help today from neighbouring fire departments in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Ellison and Joe Rich.

8:30 a.m.

The Okanagan Centre wildfire is now 55 per cent contained by a fire guard and 80 per cent ringed by fire retardent, says a fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Justine Hunse confirmed the fire is now 30 hectares in size and while there has been homes lost, she says details on that still haven’t been confirmed.

“I can confirm structures have been impacted but as far as numbers go, we just don’t have that information yet,” Hunse said.

Through the night, Hunse said 25 BC Wildfire service forest firefighters along with 12 other Lake Country firefighting personnel were working the ground attack after an aerial barrage againt the fire on Saturday employed one helicopter and 11 fixed wing aircraft.

“Winds have definitely been a factor. We had that cold front that passed through much of the Interior yesterday creating persistent high winds. The fire conditions right now are at an extreme level,” Hunse said.

Hunse said the Lake Country Fire Department is the lead agency in directing the firefighting efforts as the fire is within the District of Lake Country’s municipal fire protection zone.

“They would be the lead agency on this and we are playing a supporting role with this kind of interface fire. It would be similar to what happened with the Kaleden fire two weeks ago,” she said.

The cause of the fire, which began shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday, is still under investigation, she added.

To reinforce the extreme forest fire hazard at the moment, Hunse noted that within the Kamloops Fire Centre region, which includes the Okanagan, last year at this time, there had been 94 fires reported and 242 hectares burned. This year, there have been 104 fires reported, of which 30 are still not under control, and 20,048 hectares lost.

“And we are early on in the fire season so it is definitely challenging out there. We just thank the public for their continued support and to remain vigilant in respesting the extreme fire hazard,” she said.

7:30 a.m.

The Okanagan Centre wildfire in Lake Country is reported to be 80 per cent contained.

It’s estimated at approximately 30 hectares in size and is still active.

Overnight, Lake Country firefighters are being supported on the ground with fire crews and equipment from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Ellison, Joe Rich, Armstrong, BX Swan Lake and the BC Wildfire Service.

While there’s significant containment around the wildfire, crews are still actively fighting fires inside the area.

Fire crews are also monitoring the fire overnight to put out any spot fires that may ignite in unburned fuel.

An Evacuation Order is in place for 331 properties within the Okanagan Centre area including homes along a section of Okanagan Centre Road West, Nighthawk and Tyndall Roads.

Another 671 properties remain on evacuation alert.

A detailed map showing the properties within the Evacuation Order area is available at www.cordemergency.ca/map.

Residents have been registering at the Emergency Support Services reception centre.

It’s open at the Salvation Army Church in Kelowna at 1480 Sutherland Avenue to provide assistance and group lodging.

Residents of 657 properties are on Evacuation Alert and must be prepared to leave on short notice should conditions change requiring them to leave their homes.

A map showing properties within the Evacuation Alert area can be viewed at www.cordemergency.ca/map.

Information is also available via the https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg and https://www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency/

For more information contact the Information Office at 250-469-8490 or 1-877-569-8490 (toll-free).

It’s anticipated the next update will be approximately 9 a.m. this morning.