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Lake Okanagan Resort destroyed by West Kelowna fire

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Evacuation alerts and updates changing as McDougall Creek wildfire grows'
B.C. wildfires: Evacuation alerts and updates changing as McDougall Creek wildfire grows
A dire warning from officials as the threat from the McDougall Creek wildfire grows. Weather conditions in the area are creating very difficult conditions for crews trying to protect communities. Homes have been lost with the fire chief calling the scene "gut wrenching." Cassidy Mosconi reports from West Kelowna Friday afternoon. – Aug 18, 2023

Lake Okanagan Resort is among the buildings that were destroyed Thursday night by the McDougall Creek wildfire.

Winds whipped the fire into an inferno as it moved across the region causing what West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund described as “gut-wrenching” damage.

He wasn’t willing to speculate about how many properties were scorched in the blaze ahead of jumping back into the firefight, saying only “we will start counting when we stop losing.”

Wayne Carson, North Westside Central Okanagan Regional District director, has had a firsthand view of the damage and his constituents have been sending him pictures of what was lost.

“In my area, I know Traders Cove and Wilsons Landing are substantially damaged, and I know there’s been a fire at Lake Okanagan Resort,” Carson said.

Click to play video: 'B.C. resident records wildfire near West Kelowna'
B.C. resident records wildfire near West Kelowna

“I know the shoreline buildings are burnt, and for the fire to have reached the shoreline it would have to have gone through the main building, so I would have to assume there would be damage to the resort and the buildings,” he said.

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For Carson, who was the North Westside Fire Department’s chief for several years, these circumstances should act as a call to action for the years to come.

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“It’s been building toward this. We have so much on the ground, it’s something we’ve talked about 20 years and we haven’t gotten boots on the ground and done anything about it,” he said.

“When I was the fire chief we had a Fire Smart program and we were looking at structural protection,” he said. “And nothing has been done in the 10 years I’ve been gone.”

Carson said that there should be a 10 metre perimeter around a home and he thinks sprinklers should become commonplace.

As of Friday afternoon, there were evacuation alerts and orders running across three cities, Lake Country, Kelowna and West Kelowna, as well as regional districts.  The fire is still mapped at  68 square kilometers, on the West Kelowna side of Okanagan Lake though with fires building in Kelowna, Lake Country and beyond the damage is much more significant.

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