Evacuation orders rescinded across B.C., though fires continue to burn

Though the fire danger rating remains "high" for most of the southern half of B.C., as 123 known fires continue to burn across the province, many evacuation orders are being downgraded to alerts.

Highest level of fire activity is in the Okanagan, Prince George and southeastern regions

Smoke fills the air between Peachland and Summerland in B.C. on July 18 as wildfires continue to burn in the area. (Submitted by Nilmini Weera)

Though the fire danger rating remains "high" for most of the southern half of B.C., as 123 known fires continue to burn across the province, many evacuation orders are being downgraded to alerts.

Forty-one of those fires are in the Okanagan region, a wine growing region that includes the cities of Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the highest level of activity is in the Okanagan, Prince George and southeastern regions.

On Friday, the Mount Eneas fire near Peachland was estimated to be the largest, covering around 10 square kilometres, and is considered to be burning out of control.

The Goode's creek fire on the other side of the lake covers an estimated 400 hectares.

The highest level of fire activity is in the Okanagan, Prince George and southeastern regions. (CBC)

Multiple fires were sparked earlier this week after a lightning storm hit the popular tourist area.

​Meanwhile on Saturday, a small fire, which officials believed was human caused, forced the closure of Highway 4 near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.

Traffic was at a standstill on Highway 4 outside of Port Alberni on Saturday after a small brush fire began. Officials believe it is human caused. (Ryan Deasley)

Alerts and orders

Forty-three evacuation orders in place in the Okanagan-Similkameen district have now been rescinded.

All evacuation orders in the Central Okanagan district, have have now been downgraded to evacuation alerts meaning residents have to be prepared to leave at a moments notice.

According to an update from the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the evacuation alert for the Dog Creek Trail wildfire has been rescinded in its entirety.

This affects the areas east of Dog Creek Forest Service Road to Geernaert Road, south of the Barlow Forest Service Road to the Nechako River, Westwood Road and Braeside Road.

'A very different fire season'

Fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said that though the fires are causing major concern in the Okanagan, the situation isn't as bad as it was at this time last year.

"Things are quite busy right now. We are definitely fully engaged down there, but comparing it to where we were at, at this time in 2017, definitely a very different fire season," he said.

"You know at this stage last year the entire city of Williams Lake was evacuated, tens of thousands of people displaced. 

We had many massive fire burning out of control throughout the Interior."