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More than 3,000 homes saved from McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna

Less than 90 structures expected to be lost in West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation
Fire trucks and equipment from departments across B.C. staged at UBC Okanagan, Aug. 20, 2023. (Contributed)

At a regional wildfire update Tuesday (Aug. 22) West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said he expects structure losses in his community and on Westbank First Nation lands to be less than 90.

“What I don’t want to lose in all of that is the number in the second column on my page. The number that was saved, and that was over 3,000 (properties) that weren’t affected in our area of operations.”

He said there should be fewer than 70 full and partial property losses in West Kelowna and less than 20 in Westbank First Nation.

Canada Task Force 1 has assessed approximately 500 properties for damage in the area.

“I want to thank these men and women who came here on a moment’s notice and completed the work I asked of them far quicker than I would have expected.”

Brolund also cautioned residents that the mountains around West Kelowna are going to look very different as wildfire smoke starts to lift.

“We haven’t seen them since the fire, and it might be pretty dramatic to see what we have lost,” Brolund added. “I know lots of you are tired. Tired of being out of your homes, tired of this situation and so are we. But we’re not giving up and nor should you.”

Brolund also said, that as far as emergency teams have determined, there has been no loss of life due to the wildfires.

Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting said three homes and two outbuildings were burned along Glenmore Road, near the landfill, in the Walroy Lake wildfire.

North Westside fire chief Ross Kotscherofski said he expects less than 100 properties to be lost. In Lake Country, three homes and several outbuildings were destroyed.

“As numbers are released over the coming days we must remember that these are people’s lives and communities that are going to be deeply hurting for quite some time,” said Loyal Wooldridge, Regional District Central Okanagan chair.

Evacuation orders have been rescinded in West Kelowna and on Westbank First Nations lands, and orders in Lake Country have been downgraded to alerts.

Smoke throughout the Central Okanagan is expected to start to lift today, with light winds, rain, cooler temperatures and possible thunderstorms in the forecast.

READ MORE: Rain, rain, please stay: Precipitation in the forecast for the Okanagan

READ MORE: McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna grows to 12,000 hectares


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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