Evacuation order lifted for 6,000 in Kelowna
Published Monday, July 20, 2009 9:34PM PDT
Six thousand residents of fire-ravaged West Kelowna, B.C., will be allowed to return home Tuesday morning.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan says part of the evacuation orders affecting more than 11,000 residents in all will be rescinded at 8 a.m.
Highway 97, which has been closed since the first of three fires in the area broke out on Saturday, will also reopen at that time.
The residents who return home will remain on evacuation alert, meaning they could be forced out again at a moment's notice.
Emergency crews will continue working in the area, checking for hot spots and doing mop-up work.
Residents are being advised to watch out for hazards, such as burnt trees and electrical hazards.
In Pictures: Wildfires blaze in Kelowna, B.C.Meanwhile, the move to reopen Highway 97 through West Kelowna, will ease the pressure on commuters who are using the 201 forestry road to get to Penticton or Kelowna.
The 201 forestry road is usually used by logging trucks or people heading to remote cabins or fishing holes.
But since Saturday afternoon, it has been transformed into "the" highway reserved for light vehicles to make the hour long trip to Penticton or the 90 minute drive to Kelowna.
With reports by CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington, Stephen Smart, Maria Weisgarber, Leah Hendry, and The Canadian Press.