Smith Creek Fire update: Thousands of evacuated West Kelowna residents return home

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

A sigh of relief for around 2000 residents in West Kelowna who were displaced from their homes due to the Smith Creek Wildfire.

An evacuation order has been partially rescinded.

Fire Information Officer Tracey Wynnyk says crews have a good handle on the blaze.

“We had a very good night on the Smith Creek Fire. We saw very little activity on the fire, so our size remains at 260 hectares, and we were able to achieve 50-percent containment.”

Jason Luciw with the Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program says 222 homes remain under an evacuation order in the primary interface areas, and 906 homes are now under alert.

“When we say that an evacuation order has been partially rescinded, we also mean that the people going back will remain on alert. Ok, because we are dealing with a volatile situation and an unknown weather forecast.”

Roughly 500 people are still displaced from their homes.

While winds on Saturday evening were a concern, the gusts did not advance the 2.6-square-kilometre blaze past containment lines.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater says we’re not even half way through summer and residents still need to be on high alert.

“People are elated that it’s going the right way, it’s not done and we still have six weeks to two months of syummer yet and generally hot tender dry conditions so we have to continue to be careful.”

Cooler weather and rainfall in parts of British Columbia have helped to quell wildfires across the province, but some areas in the southern and central interior are still facing an extreme danger rating.