Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tension Eases as Wildfire Evacuation Order Downgraded to Alert in B.C. Interior

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tension Eases as Wildfire Evacuation Order Downgraded to Alert in B.C. Interior

Article excerpt

Tension eases as evacuation order downgraded

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CLINTON, B.C. - An aerial assault on a fire in B.C.'s tinder-dry southern Interior helped quell the flames and downgrade an evacuation order Wednesday, but most of the people in the danger zone had already chosen not to leave.

Fred Bressler lives in the evacuation alert zone and said he saw helicopters with buckets flying overhead, but he stayed in his home.

"I figured, you know, all those people on the fire scene would do their job to get the fire gone and I wouldn't go," said Bressler.

"I have an escape zone where I can go with my truck . . . We know we could go out the Big Bar Road, because it was completely safe to go that way."

Bressler said he hasn't heard much from his neighbours or those who live in areas more directly threatened by the flames because fire has taken out utilities.

"The power line that goes down to the Big Bar ferry is kaput," he said. "The fire burned six power lines, so there's no power going through there and the telephone doesn't work."

Concern about road access into the remote region was one of the reasons for the evacuation order, but an official with the regional district said only three families had left and registered at an evacuation centre in Clinton.

The wildfire grew to 400 hectares Wednesday from 100 hectares the day before, but by the end of the day, the weather was co-operating and the fire had not moved towards any structures or homes. The blaze is now about 10 per cent contained, said Jenny Fremlin, a fire information officer.

Emergency social service operations were "stood down," said Jason Tomlin, of the Thompson-Nicloa Regional District.

"Everyone can go back home and conduct business as usual, of course keeping in mind they are on alert, so if things do change they will potentially have to leave at a moment's notice," said Tomlin.

The flames burned through two homes in the area. Forty residents and 40 guests of a resort had been ordered to get out.

Norm Dove, of the Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, said guests are still coming to the resort, about 15 kilometres from the fire.

He said despite how the situation appears, it's a clear day and there's no sign of a fire. …

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