Some B.C. evacuation alerts lifted as rain lowers wildfire danger, but relief not expected to last

British Columbia

A rainy weekend in British Columbia has reduced wildfire danger in much of the province, allowing some regions to lift evacuation alerts. But the extreme risk is expected to resume as another hot spell is on the way and nearly 6,600 properties remain on evacuation order.

Firefighting crews work to suppress the NK’Mip Creek wildfire, which as of August 8, was about 169 square kilometres in size. Rain over the weekend provided some temporary relief, but wasn't expected to last as another hot spell is being forecast for later this week. (B.C. Wildfire Service/Facebook)

British Columbia's wildfire danger map shows a low to moderate fire risk in much of the province after a rainy weekend, but the extreme risk is expected to resume quickly as another hot spell arrives.

The Ministry of Forests says about 270 wildfires are currently burning, most in the southern Interior, with just eight sparked over the last two days.

One of the most concerning remains the White Rock Lake fire between Kamloops and Okanagan Lake, which has scorched nearly 560 square kilometres, destroyed properties east of Kamloops and forced thousands from their homes.

It is burning in one of two B.C. regions still ranked at high to extreme risk of wildfires, but a damp weekend cut the chance of embers flying across Okanagan Lake, allowing Vernon to lift its evacuation alert, although orders or alerts from three regional districts, two communities and two First Nations are still in place.

Evacuation alerts mean residents must be ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice. Evacuation orders mean residents should leave immediately.

The mayor of Chase, a village threatened by the north flank of the fire, said in a statement that gusty winds are expected in the region Monday, while a B.C. Wildfire Service spokesperson said hot weather forecast for later this week could mean the return of aggressive fire activity.

The province says nearly 6,600 properties remain on evacuation order across B.C., while residents of more than 32,000 properties have been told to be ready to leave on short notice.

Anyone placed under an evacuation order should leave the area immediately.

Evacuation centres have been set up throughout the province to assist anyone evacuating from a community under threat from a wildfire. To find the centre closest to you, visit the Emergency Management B.C. website.

Evacuees are encouraged to register with Emergency Support Services online, whether or not they access services at an evacuation centre.

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