The Columbia Unit Crew returns to the Charlie Division staging area for their next assignment while battling the wildfire near Cache Creek. (Photo by Ryan Gow, BC Wildfire Service)

Wildfire evacuation numbers beginning to decline

More people allowed back into their homes, but threat to leave remains high and depends on weather.

More people are being allowed to return to their homes as evacuation orders have been rescinded in many parts of the province.

Wildfire officials today said the number of total evacuees has dropped from almost 50,000 last week (those who have signed up with the Red Cross) to 20,300 after residents of 100 Mile House, Cache Creek, Princeton and other communities were allowed to return home.

RELATED: Evacuation order lifted for 100 Mile House and South Cariboo

Many of these areas are still under an evacuation alert, meaning they could be forced to leave again on short notice. Those residents returning to their communities are asked to obey signage and bring any essential supplies with them, and ensure that any food and water is safe before consuming something they had previously left behind.

RELATED: Several new blazes sparked over the weekend

There are still 154 wildfires burning around the province, including 19 new fires that began on Sunday. So far this season, fires have burned almost 400,000 hectares in British Columbia at a cost of just over $132 million.

Hundreds of fire fighters continue attacking the blazes, including almost 1,000 crew members from out-of-province. This is in addition to 213 aircraft helping at this time and other first responders, including the military.

It’s still unknown when Highway 97 will be reopened, as officials must ensure the road will be safe and secure by both RCMP and local authorities.

RELATED: Evacuation centres prepare for long term

Officials also said today that Williams Lake may be downgraded sometime this week to allow some residents to begin coming home, but that will depend on fire activity and the weather. It’s expected to remain unstable with hot, windy conditions and no major rain activity for the next couple of days.

Some areas affected by wildfires could see thundershowers mid-week as well.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Volunteer program in need of drivers

Demand for volunteer drivers to take individuals to medical appointments at an all-time high

Keremeos CIBC customers feel betrayed by closure

A meeting was held recently at Victory Hall about the impending closure of the CIBC

Okanagan’s first Christmas was cold and bleak

Father Pandosy and his crew likely spent their first Christmas cold and hungry

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Most Read