B.C. residents forced from homes by Rock Creek fire can return
Blaze still growing but authorities say it's safe to go home
Residents near B.C.'s Rock Creek wildfire who were forced from their homes may now return even though the aggressive blaze continues to grow.
Regional authorities lifted the evacuation orders affecting more than 130 properties on Wednesday afternoon. Residents will be allowed to return home at 7 p.m. PT Wednesday evening. However, they are still on alert and could be ordered to leave again at any time.
The province's wildfire service said the blaze, which began last week in B.C.'s Southern Interior, has been partially contained.
Fire information officer Mike McCully said the fire grew to about 40 square kilometres from 39 square kilometres overnight.
"Some of that is due to better mapping that we have now, but we did see some growth on the east side of the fire," said McCully.
"But we're able to confirm that we now have the fire 25 per cent contained, which really reflects the hard work the crews have been doing out there over the last few days."
More than 100 firefighters
Fire containment refers to how much of a barrier crews have been able to establish around it.
McCully says it's still an aggressive fire. More than 100 firefighters, seven helicopters and 14 pieces of heavy equipment are working to contain it.
The wildfire started last week and spread quickly, prompting hundreds to flee. At least 30 homes and 15 other buildings have been destroyed by the blaze
On Monday, one of the evacuation orders in place was downgraded to an evacuation alert for 242 properties — meaning residents could go home, but may have to leave again on a moment's notice.
An evacuation order was still in place for another 137 properties until Wednesday afternoon.