British Columbia

Lake Country wildfire that destroyed 8 homes was deliberately set, say RCMP

A fire in B.C.'s Lake Country that destroyed eight homes in the Central Okanagan was arson, Kelowna RCMP said Wednesday.

'This fire was intentionally set ... it's a horrific crime and matter to put other people through'

The fire quickly spread through the area late on the night of July 15. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

A fire in B.C.'s Lake Country that destroyed eight homes north of Kelowna was deliberately set, RCMP said Wednesday.

"The fire  … is being considered as a criminal case of arson," said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

Police had earlier said they suspected the fast-moving interface fire that started July 15 may have been human caused.

"Which initially would lead one to believe that it was either carelessness or human-caused but not intentional. This fire was intentionally set.

"It's a horrific crime and matter to put other people through."

The fire forced the evacuation of more than 300 homes in the Central Okanagan community and damaged more than 30 properties, in addition to the destroyed homes.

There are no suspects or motive known at this time.

While this home was destroyed, the residence next to it in Lake Country B.C. appears untouched. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

Seeking witnesses

Police aren't revealing the exact point of origin, but said it started on Okanagan Centre Road, part of which runs along Okanagan Lake.

Investigators are looking for witnesses who may have seen the fire at as it was starting, either on land or from a boat on the lake.

Moskaluk asked witnesses to think of the victims of the fire and come forward.

"Put yourself in that position of those individuals that were directly impacted by this fire," not just with property damage but emotional and financial hardship, said Moskaluk.

So far, investigators have determined that two groups of adults were using a recreation site in the area. One group has come forward, but they still want to speak to the other as potential witnesses.

Investigators are also seeking photo or video from the area on July 14 before the fire started or on Saturday July 15, including dash camera or closed-circuit television footage.

Aircraft drop retardant and water on a wildfire in Lake Country, B.C.

4 years ago
A number of homes were lost after flames quickly spread through the area 0:30

With files from Alya Ramadan