Lake Country fire chief: There wasn’t much more we could do

Fire chief applauds crews for minimizing loss of homes in Okanagan Centre blaze

The initial response of Lake Country firefighters to the Okanagan Centre wildfire kept the Okanagan Centre fire from doing even more damage to the community.

That was the word from fire chief Steve Windsor, looking back on on his crews’ response to the blaze a week ago today.

EXTRA: Police looking for public tips in Okanagan Centre fire

EXTRA: Lake Country forum talks about retardant in wake of fire

But while many homes along Tyndall and Nighthawk roads and beyond were saved, the eight homes that were lost weigh heavily on the firefighters, said Windsor.

Looking back in hindsight, Windsor said his firefighting contingent, five full-time firefighters and 60 paid on-call members, along with supporting crews, should not be second guessing themselves.

“We lost some homes and that’s always difficult for us but we also saved a lot of homes,” Windsor said. “There is not much else we could have done.

“We are appreciative of the support we also received from other fire departments because without them, we would have been in a lot more trouble.”

Fed by gusting winds, Windsor said the fast-moving fire raced up a steep hillside incline from Okanagan Lake Road West that offered no access for a fire truck to set up.

Evacuees had little time to flee from their homes because of the speed of the fire advancing, which also made it a challenge for firefighters to get ahead of the flames initially.

Windsor said last weekend, Lake Country had six firefighters and equipment assisting with the firefighting efforts in the Central Interior, but they were summoned home immediately when the Okanagan Centre wildfire broke out.

“(After the fire), our focus was on cleaning up the hotspots which will go on for awhile so we’ll take a wait and see attitude about deploying our people elsewhere for the moment,” Windsor said.

“Our on-call people also have full-time jobs so this is all pretty stressful on them as well.”

While the source of the fire remains under investigation beyond the confirmation it was human caused, Windsor said fire conditions remain extreme and will likely continue at that level for days to come.

Windsor said both evacuated residents returning home to a fire zone and residents in general have to be “very, very careful” about the fire hazard.


Steep terrain that confronted firefighters as they tried to prevent the Okanagan Centre wildlife from burning people’s homes. Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Just Posted

Cure for Alzheimer’s disease remains elusive

Complexity of the brain still defies discovery of drug treatment

World Down Syndrome Day: The up side of Down

A Kelowna family’s journey with Down Syndrome: ‘There is tremendous beauty in these kids’

Closing arguments in Kelowna murder trial expected today

Closing arguments in the trial of a Kelowna man accused of fatally stabbing his friend

Historic grad ceremony for Westbank First Nation technicians

14 Indigenous workers become first public works technicians in B.C.

Kelowna artists donate to nonprofit

The Kelowna Palette Club held its annual Simply Art Show with donations to United Way

Wilkie returns home with three medals in tow

Paralympic champion returns home with a gold, silver and bronze from the 2018 PyeongChang games

Vancouver Island university develops program to help kids cope with overdose crisis

A child and youth care professor worked with students to develop projects focused on children, families and communities dealing with opioids.

Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook data whistleblower in 2016: source

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to the National Public Alerting System

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel and U.S. company ICM Partners

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in

Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read