More wildfire evacuation orders coming down around West Kelowna

By The Canadian Press and Charlie Carey

The area under evacuation order around a wildfire in West Kelowna, B.C., is gradually shrinking.

The Central Okanagan emergency operations centre says residents of 16 properties along Bear Creek Road are allowed to go home, although they remain on evacuation alert and must be ready to leave again if the McDougall Creek wildfire flares.

Evacuation orders were lifted for more than two dozen other properties on Wednesday, weeks after thousands of residents were chased out by the fast-moving wildfire.

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The centre says about 350 properties are still under evacuation order and close to 5,000 are on evacuation alert as the fire remains out of control, nearly a month after it was reported.

About half of the 400 structures or homes that were destroyed in B.C.’s wildfires this summer were lost in the Kelowna area.

There are almost 400 fires are still burning in the province in what has been a record season for area burned, and about 160 of those fires remain out of control.

BC Hydro reconnects thousands of customers

Meanwhile, the province’s electricity provider says it has restored power to about 90 per cent of its customers who have been affected by the McDougall Creek wildfire.

BC Hydro says more than 125 employees have been working on restoring power to the 1,200 customers. It says 27 kilometres of power lines, 426 poles, and 66 pieces of other equipment needed to be replaced.

“In addition to replacing the damaged infrastructure, they also participated alongside first responders and BC Wildfire Service in an extensive clean-up effort to remove debris and vegetation from the impacted areas,” the utility provider said.

Hydro customers who were affected by evacuation orders are eligible to receive a credit for their electricity consumption during that time, BC Hydro notes.

“While the majority of work is complete, there is still some very complex work to go. BC Hydro hopes to have nearly every customer restored near the end of next week.”

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