The Smith Creek wildfire is roughly 50-per-cent contained, and approximately 2,200 people are being allowed to go back to their homes in West Kelowna, B.C., as of Sunday afternoon.
At 11 a.m. PT , the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre announced the evacuation order that had forced 2,500 people from their homes earlier this week had been partially rescinded for 1,900 people. Later in the day, even more people were allowed to return home.
Out of 1,128 homes evacuated Thursday, 1,050 are now believed to be free of immediate threat and residents are allowed to return to them. An evacuation order remains in effect for the homes closest to the fire, which affects approximately 300 people.
Those going home are asked to be cautious and to watch out for:
- Charred power poles or trees, which may be unstable and could fall.
- Live power lines on the ground.
- Small fires that may flare up without warning.
- Ash pits, which are holes filled with hot ash created by burned trees.
Police will be in the area to enforce order and maintain roadblocks in off-limits neighbourhoods.
The emergency operations centre also said everyone remains on evacuation alert, and should be ready to leave again at a moment's notice.
Jason Luciw, of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre, said the fire is still not fully contained, and a change in the weather could quickly change the situation on the ground.
"The first thing that we want to let people know is that this remains an active fire," he said. "For example, wind is still in the forecast, and therefore those people living in the immediate interface area... remain under evacuation order."
The evacuee reception centre is being maintained at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School, where residents under evacuation order can seek food and vouchers for hotels and motels.
The B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the Smith Creek fire is roughly 260 hectares in size, and that fires inside the perimeter will keep burning and will be visible for several weeks.
"Residents are asked if they see any fire activity related to the Smith Creek fire, not to call 911 as crews will still be actively working in the area and monitoring the situation," the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre said.
Neighbourhoods under evacuation order or alert
The Evacuation Order is rescinded but an Evacuation Alert remains in effect for the following areas:
The following roads in the Smith Creek Neighbourhood:
- Asquith Road
- Bridal Hill Court
- Bridal Hill Drive
- Copper Ridge Drive
- Copper Ridge Court
- Copper Ridge Place
- Copper Ridge Way
- Doucette Drive
- Harold Road
- Ironridge Place
- Ironridge Road
- Rhinestone Road
- Shetler Drive
- Sandberg Road
- Sageview Road
- Saddleridge Drive
- Sugosa Place
- Salish Road
- Smith Creek Road
- Stone Ridge Drive
- Summerview Place
- Summerview Court
- Telcor Place
- Twin Place
- Whispering Hills Drive
- Wild Horse Drive
The following roads in the Alexandria Neighbourhood:
- Alexandria Way
- Shannon Lake Road
The following roads/properties in the Tallus Ridge Neighbourhood:
- Boulder Lake Boulevard
- Cobblestone Road
- Pebble Place
- Stone Grove Crescent
- Tuscany Drive
- Tallus Ridge Drive including 2390 Tallus Ridge Drive
The following roads in the Shannon Woods Neighbourhood:
- Shannon Woods Drive
- Shannon Woods Place
- Shannon Woods Way
- Shannon Woods Cres
- Shannon Hills Drive
- Shannon Hills Place
- Shannon Heights Court
- Shannon Heights Place
The Evacuation Order is still in effect for:
The following properties/roads in the Smith Creek Neighbourhood:
- All properties accessed off Dixie Road
The following properties/roads in the Tallus Ridge Neighbourhood including the following roads:
- Big Sky Drive
- Mountains Hollow Lane
- Paramount Drive
- Ryser Place
- Tallus Heights Drive
- Tallus Green Crescent
- Tallus Green Place
The Evacuation Alert has been lifted for Bartley Road and Lenz Road.