WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – About 2,400 of the 2,500 people displaced by a wildfire near West Kelowna, B.C. were allowed back into their homes on Sunday, but were cautioned to be ready to leave again.
Kelly Kay of the Central Okanagan Regional District Emergency Operations Centre says evacuees should still be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
Kay says authorities will be discussing the possibility of allowing the estimated 100 people still under an evacuation order back in their homes.
“We will be evaluating that situation,” she said. “For those who do remain on evacuation order, they will have to check back in at the evacuation reception centres to get the additional food and accommodation vouchers.”
Tracy Wynnyk of the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the cooler weather and higher humidity has allowed firefighters to contain 50 per cent of the blaze, up from about 30 per cent on Saturday.
While winds on Saturday evening were a concern, the gusts did not advance the 2.6-square-kilometre blaze past containment lines.
“It’s going quite well,” said Wynnyk. “They had a very quiet night on the fire.”
But cooler weather has not helped quell a fire burning near Lytton, more than 150 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
The 15-square-kilometre fire remains completely uncontained and the steep terrain is proving to be a concern for firefighters, said David Steeves of the B.C. Wildfire Management Centre.
The fire remains the same size it did Saturday, he said.
The blaze has forced out approximately 120 people from their homes.
There is no word on when they will be allowed to return.
Cooler weather and rainfall in parts of British Columbia have helped to quell wildfires across the province, but some areas in the southern and central interior are still facing an extreme danger rating.
Navi Saini, another spokeswoman for the fire management branch, says there were six new fire starts Saturday and one Sunday morning.
She says the weekend, though, has been “relatively quiet,” so the department is hopeful the 151 active fires are diminishing in number and magnitude.
An extreme danger rating indicates a “very serious” fire risk where new fires start and spread easily.
Saini adds that in general, the danger rating across B.C. has dropped.
She says there are more than 1,300 firefighters working across the province.