VANCOUVER — Some of the residents chased from their homes by a wild fire in the B.C. Interior have returned to their properties, while others might be out for quite some time.
An evacuation order for three communities affected by the Tyaughton Lake blaze, about 65 kilometres west of Lillooet, has been downgraded to an evacuation alert.
Leslie Lloyd, spokeswoman for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, said some residents and property owners of Tyaughton Lake, Gun Creek Road and Mud Creek went home Sunday.
“Certainly there was a collective sigh of relief and applause and appreciation and certainly the people are indicating that they’re very happy to be permitted to return home,” Lloyd said.
B.C. fire information officer Elise Riedlinger said crews have about half of the 80-square-kilometre Tyaughton Lake fire contained.
“The southwest and west flanks of the fire have been very quiet. They are holding the containment lines there, although they did have to work on putting out a few hot spots (Saturday),” she said.
“Now their main focus is going to be on the north flank of the fire, as well as the east. This is an area with very steep, difficult terrain.”
Riedlinger said fire crews have been helped by cooler temperatures and lighter winds.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for three other communities and Riedlinger said that will remain the case for some time.
“It’s not in the immediate future for Marshall Lake, Liza Lake and Carol Lake (residents to return home) because that fire is still so active on the ridge above Marshall Lake,” she said.
Evacuation alerts also remain in place for Gun Lake, Gold Bridge, and Bralorne.
Several of the evacuees had been pushing the district to lift the evacuation order that was enforced for more than a week.
Lloyd said of the 75 evacuees, approximately 60 are from the three areas where Sunday’s evacuation order was downgraded.
RCMP were on site to control the re-entry process. Information handouts were made available to those returning to the area to ensure they were aware of any potential hazards.
The Tyaughton Lake fire is believed to have been human caused.
Near the B.C.-Yukon border, fire crews continued their battle against the province’s other major blaze.
The Smith River fire is about 230 square kilometres in size and is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike.
The fire is about 30 per cent contained and is being battled by 84 firefighters.
Three communities with a total population of about 15 people are on evacuation alert.