No lives lost in wildfires that swept through Central Okanagan: West Kelowna Fire Chief

23 Aug 2023 | Canada | 199 |
No lives lost in wildfires that swept through Central Okanagan: West Kelowna Fire Chief

No lives have been lost in the wildfires that ripped through the Central Okanagan but a search for potential victims of the blaze believed to have destroyed nearly 200 homes is ongoing, fire officials said Tuesday.

“I mentioned that I thought I felt as though our evacuation was orderly, but that I desperately hoped that everyone made it out,” West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said Tuesday.

“And today, to the best of our knowledge, using the best techniques that we have at our disposal, I can share that (no one has died) as of today.”

However, he added, if someone is missing, report it to the RCMP because a search is ongoing.

“Through cooperation between Canada, Task Force 1, and the RCMP, numerous individuals have been working hard with the data that’s been collected,” Brolund said.

“They’ve pursued investigative techniques and done their best to identify potential sites that may need to be searched for people who didn’t make it out of the fire.”

With that information in hand and a target site identified, Canada Task Force 1 uses specialized dogs trained in searches of that nature and they comb through properties.

Kari O’Rourke, public information officer for Central Okanagan Emergency Support Services, said earlier in the week that the Canada Task Force 1 group is going through the affected neighborhoods in a very systematic way, also mapping structural losses.

From there  Emergency Operations Centre staff will be conducting hazard assessments to better understand what needs to be done to ensure the safety of the area.

“Some of these hazards include downed power lines, unstable structures, dangerous trees, equipment and debris in the area and hazardous materials,” O’Rourke said.

“The mapping and assessments are actively underway and nearing completion in some areas.”

Some of that work has already been done, which is why dozens of evacuation orders were reduced to alerts Monday night.

As smoke clears, and sight lines clear, Okanagan residents should expect to see more water bombers and helicopters overhead.



by Global News