181 properties confirmed damaged or destroyed by wildfires in Okanagan


There was relief in the form of rain overnight in parts of the Okanagan.

Along with cooler temperatures, the skies are clear for the first time in days, and it’s helping firefighters in the region, according to Brad Litke with the BC Wildfire Service.

“That’s going to aid us in keeping the fire behaviour low today. For a little bit more stability today and will allow us to make progress on the fire ground,” Litke said.

With the good news comes devastating details of the damage left behind.

The clear skies allowed officials to finally get a firmer tally of the losses, confirming 180 properties damaged or lost. The majority are in West Kelowna, and the regional district north of there.

Northwest Fire Department Chief Ross Kotscherofski says crews are getting a clearer picture of the damage.

“I want to stress that these are not structures, but these are properties. Some properties, such as the Lake Okanagan Resort, has several structures on one property,” Kotscherofski said.

And soon, homeowners will be able to learn once and for all if their property is among the losses.

READ ALSO: ‘Incredibly rare’ fire tornado caught on video near Lillooet: BC Wildfire Service

Emergency officials say an online registry will allow people to enter their addresses and learn their fate.

In the meantime, the Bush Creek fire in the Shuswap is estimated at 41,000 hectares — significantly larger than the McDougall Creek blaze in West Kelowna, which is roughly 12,000 hectares.

Twenty-five thousand people remain out of their homes due to wildfires in B.C.

The latest is in Lytton, where the First Nation issued an evacuation order due to the growing Kookipi Creek Fire.

And a stern warning once again from Minister of Emergency Readiness and Climate Change Bowinn Ma for everyone to heed evacuation orders.

“Evacuation orders must be followed. They are not suggestions. They are the law,” said Ma.

“When unauthorized persons are in evacuation areas, it escalates the danger involved for everyone. It limits the type of wildfire tactics the BC Wildfire Service can deploy.”

Thirty-seven thousand also remain under evacuation alerts, meaning they should be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

A provincial state of emergency is still in effect, with 377 wildfires burning throughout the province.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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