Okanagan wildfire destroys home, police car
Published Monday, July 12, 2010 6:11PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 11:11PM PDT
A fire in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley has been contained, but not before destroying at least one home, two garages, a police car and a boat.
A state of emergency has been declared in both Peachland and West Kelowna communities because of the rapidly growing wildfire at Seclusion Bay.
The blaze, sparked from a small grass fire, was first reported at 10:30 a.m. in the Drought Hill area, between Peachland and West Kelowna.
Fanned by winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour, the fire had consumed 15 hectares by 3 p.m. local time and that had doubled by 5 p.m.
More than 20 guests and staff were evacuated from the Seclusion Bay Resort by RCMP rescue boat.
Some vacationers were still in bed when they got word they had to leave.
"I just said ‘come on you guys have to get down to the lake' because the flames were right there. Like huge flames," evacuee Adrienne Smith told CTV News.
"I was hysterical," evacuee Eva Rose said. "When you can see flames you become very afraid."
Police initially attempted to escort evacuees by land but had to change their plan once the fire picked up speed.
"It cut off the land route for a lot of the residents and police personnel so they were relegated to go down to the water and we called out a number of boats," Kelowna RCMP Const. Steve Holmes said.
Highway 97, the main route through the area, was temporarily closed to traffic at the Okanagan Connector as a precaution while fire crews from both districts battled the flames. A single lane had reopened by 5 p.m.
An evacuation centre for affected residents has been established at the Lions Hall in neighbouring Westbank.
The Ministry of Forests has brought in two helicopters and air tankers to aid the eight firefighters on the ground.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan has ordered boaters to stay away from the Seclusion Bay area so as not to interfere with water and aerial firefighting operations.
Fire Information Officer Michaela Swan said all of the 10 new wildfires in the Kamloops region this weekend were human caused.