The Okanagan Centre fire in Lake Country. - Image John P. Rodall

Losses over $13 million in Okanagan Centre fire

Insured losses in Lake Country for the summer fire season are well over $13 million

Lake Country’s devastating Okanagan Centre Fire was also an extremely costly one.

Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor says the insured losses totalled so far in the Okanagan Centre Fire are over $13 million.

However he stated the amount of loss could have been much worse.

“The insured loss for that fire so far is $13.3 million. But within that fire zone… we calculate that there was $37.6 million worth of properties that were saved,” said Windsor.

Windsor made the comments to the Lake Country Calendar, which had asked him to look back on the summer fire season that was the worst on record in B.C.

Related: Community rewards Lake Country fire fighters

The fire that claimed eight houses in Lake Country as well as other fires sparked around the region brought a visit from Prime Minister Trudeau and Lake Country crews were able to meet the PM during his stay in Kelowna for the summer caucus meeting in early September.

“He went around and shook everyone’s hands and did groups shots if you wanted them. (He has) definitely an outgoing personality,” said Windsor.

“It’s nice for all the departments to be recognized, and others were there from Joe Rich.”

The fire fighters were kept busy this summer, starting in May with flooding around the Okanagan, said Windsor.

“We were very involved in that, not only with sandbags but doing assessments for the province.”

After that, there was a wildfire at 100 Mile House, which a water tender, engine and crew spent 228.5 hours fighting.

The next fire sparked close to home, July 15. The Lake Country team spent 1,114 hours at the Okanagan Centre blaze.

Former premier Christy Clark, along with Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, and MP Stephen Fuhr toured the scene with Mayor James Baker afterwards.

To end the season in August, the crew supplied crews for sprinkler protection for the province, spending 155 hours around Anaham Lake, before tackling the Philpott Road fire, spending 266 hours fighting the blaze with two fire trucks.

Windsor said it’s been an extreme fire season, especially with the losses in Lake Country and other wildfires.

The Lake Country fire department has three halls, with two chief officers, two maintenance members, a fire inspector and 52 members on call.