2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire

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2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire
2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire
Location Okanagan Mountain Park
Date(s) August 16, 2003 (2003-08-16)
Ignition source lightning strike
Land use Parkland, Rural
Buildings destroyed 239
Injuries (non-fatal) water bomber crash

On August 16, 2003, a wildfire was started near Rattlesnake Island in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. The wildfire was fuelled by a constant wind and one of the driest summers in the past decade. Within a few days it had grown into a true firestorm.

The fire grew northward and eastward, initially threatening a small number of lakeshore homes, but quickly became an interface zone fire and forced the evacuation of 27,000 residents and consumed 239 homes. The final size of the firestorm was over 250 square kilometers (61,776 acres). Most of the trees in Okanagan Mountain Park were burned, and the park was closed.

60 fire departments, 1,400 armed forces troops and 1,000 forest fire fighters took part in controlling the fire, but were largely helpless in stopping the disaster.

There were also at least 3 Air Spray Aviation Ltd. owned Canadair CL-215s, 4 Government of Alberta owned Canadair CL-215s, 4 Air Spray Aviation Ltd. owned L188 Electras and at least one Martin Mars air tanker working the fire. Aside from a crash by a water bomber, there was no loss of human life during the entire incident.

Amateur radio operators helped pass emergency traffic during this emergency.

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