Evacuation order lifted, Highway 1 partly open as B.C. wildfire crews make progress north of Lytton

Conditions eased slightly overnight, allowing a pilot car to escort travellers through the area on Highway 1.

But forecast for lightning and wind spells bad news for wildfire situation in coming days

A wildfire near Spences Bridge in the B.C. Interior has shut down Highway 1 until further notice. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

A wildfire cut Highway 1 through British Columbia's southern Interior late Monday as a fire flared near the community of Spences Bridge — but conditions eased slightly overnight, allowing a pilot car to escort travellers through the area.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze is now a little less than one square kilometre in size and the cause is under investigation.

The fire was reported at around 4 p.m. PT, prompting the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to issue an evacuation order for three properties nearest the flames and an evacuation alert for Spences Bridge and part of the surrounding area.

The evacuation order was downgraded just hours later as firefighters managed to push the flames away from the homes and near Highway 1.

DriveBC, the provincial government's online service for travellers, says Highway 1 is open to single lane, alternating traffic led by a pilot car, but drivers are cautioned that the route could close again at any time if the fire shifts.

Warm weather raises wildfire risk

Wildfire conditions were calmer across British Columbia on the weekend, but there is concern that climbing temperatures and gusty winds could undo progress made over the last several days.

Environment Canada is calling for winds gusting to 40 km/h over the Kelowna area and lightning is also forecast for several parts of the province, including the Okanagan Valley.

Wildfire smoke fills the air between Peachland and Summerland on July 18. (Nilmini Weera)

The B.C. Wildfire Service says it conducted a successful controlled burn on Sunday, uniting two fires into one larger blaze between Peachland and Summerland, on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

That fire now covers a little more than 15 square kilometres.

B.C. Wildfire Service says it conducted a successful controlled burn between Peachland and Summerland, uniting two fires into one and making it easier to build fire guards. 2:53

While the blaze is still considered out of control, officials say the single perimeter offers a greater chance to build fire guards.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has rescinded several evacuation orders for properties north of Summerland and the wildfire service website says other evacuations could be lifted. 

Another 900 properties remain on alert until further notice.

With files from CBC News.

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