Concerns persist as B.C. wildfire evacuees return

Concerns persist as B.C. wildfire evacuees return

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Residents of two communities evacuated due to wildfires in British Columbia have been allowed to return, but officials say it’s unclear when thousands of others will be allowed to go home.

Evacuation orders for 100 Mile House and Princeton were downgraded to alerts on Saturday, allowing residents to go home, although with the knowledge that they may have to leave again on a moment’s notice.

People returning to the Interior communities have been picking up cleanup kits and advice from the Red Cross as they return home, Al Richmond, chairman of the Cariboo Regional District, told a conference call Sunday.

“I think it’s been a happy time for most people there, even those who had some loses. They’re glad to be back,” Richmond said.

More than 30,000 people remained displaced by wildfires on Sunday as a cold front moved across central and southern B.C., bringing with it gusting winds that threatened to stir up flames.

The weather is making it difficult to predict when other evacuees, including about 10,000 people from Williams Lake, may be able to return home, said fire information officer Navi Saini.

“It really depends on fire activity,” she said. “Although we are making progress on the fires, it is a pretty fluid situation right now, and with the forecast wind, it’s something we’ll continue to monitor and there’ll be discussions had later.”

Residents of Williams Lake were forced out more than a week ago when flames threatened to cut off highways that could provide future escapes.

Geoff Payton with the City of Williams Lake says officials are working on plans for re-entry, but there’s no set date for when people will be able to return.

A wildfire continues to burn about seven kilometres outside of the city, Payton said.

“It wouldn’t take much more than a strong wind event to blow it into town,” he said.

The province allowed people back onto lakes in the Cariboo region surrounding Williams Lake on Sunday, but warned that firefighting aircraft might need to access the water.

More than 4,000 people were fighting 150 wildfires burning across the province Sunday afternoon, including one near Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, near the B.C.-Alberta boundary.

The fire caused the BC Wildfire Service to close the park as a “proactive measure” because it is accessible only by hiking trails and would be difficult to evacuate if needed.

British Columbia has seen nearly 740 fires burn through almost 3,700 square kilometres since April 1, costing the province more than $125 million in fire suppression.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale visited Kamloops on Saturday to announce the federal government will be adding to funds managed by the Canadian Red Cross to help the 44,000 people displaced due to the crisis.

He said the province is only in the beginning of the fire season and has already been facing a very dangerous and difficult situation.

ss

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Buelow, owner of Aerial Edge Studio in Blackfalds, says she has spent ‘all of my saving keeping the studio going’ through government-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Either open in-person or close permanently: Central Alberta yoga studio defying rules

A central Alberta woman is allowing clients back into her yoga and… Continue reading

(MaxPixel)
Sandra Schmirler Foundation donates $10,000 to Red Deer hospital

Donation will go towards electronic fetal heart monitoring project

A sustainability audit for Westerner Park suggested 33 changes, including more city involvement. (Advocate file photo)
Westerner Park expands volunteer program

Westerner Park is recruiting volunteers to fill several positions. The new Volunteer… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Appeal Court restores privileges for man who killed five at Calgary house party

EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal has restored some privileges for… Continue reading

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce… Continue reading

Gordon Greenwood Elementary Grade 7 students were assigned to write about climate change. The Langley Advance Times is pleased to present a selection of their writings. (Sasha/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

OTTAWA — A new report shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he will vote against a… Continue reading

Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says… Continue reading

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

The Huawei logo displayed at the main office of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Poland’s Internal Security Agency has charged a Chinese manager at Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers with espionage against Poland on behalf of China. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Huawei, HSBC agree on document deal for extradition case

HONG KONG — Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei said Monday that it… Continue reading

Most Read