Fire chiefs say the fight against devastating wildfires on both sides of Lake Okanagan has turned a corner. West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund says things are looking better for the 500 firefighters battling the McDougall Creek blaze and it’s now possible to begin talking about recovery. Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting says he’s also “very excited” about the advances being made and crews are optimistic and in good spirits. Across the province approximately 30-thousand people are under evacuation orders, including more than 10-thousand in the central Okanagan area.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa has approved BC’s request for federal assistance related to the province’s wildfires. He says the government is deploying military assets and providing resources to help with evacuations, staging, and other logistical tasks. Trudeau says the wildfire situation in BC and the Northwest Territories is “extraordinarily serious.” He says the emergency is also an example of Canadians stepping up to care for each other.
An air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver remains in place due to wildfire smoke. The Metro Vancouver Regional District says people should postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity particularly if they have underlying conditions related to breathing. The district says smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures, and wildfire behaviour change.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, along with First Nations and RCMP in the South Okanagan are asking people to be extra careful to prevent wildfires. In a joint statement, they say emergency personnel are working incredibly hard and people should not add to their burden with activity that could spark a fire. They’re asking anyone heading into natural areas such as trails, parks and forests to practice great caution. There is a ban on campfires throughout the entire region with no exceptions.
The province’s homicide investigation team has been called in after a man was fatally shot in Hope. RCMP say they were called just before 3 a.m. on Sunday and found a 28-year-old man who had been shot and killed. Police say a suspect has been arrested and investigators don’t believe there is an ongoing risk to the public. They say they have identified the victim and are working to notify his family.