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

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serves annual Christmas dinner

Between 700 to 800 meals were served Saturday to the community

Your weekend story highlights

Every Saturday, the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Porter blanks Blades in Rockets’ road trip finale

Rookie netminder stops 40 shots in Kelowna’s last game before Christmas break

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Most Read