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Rain, cooler temperatures offer slight relief in B.C. wildfire fight

Cooler conditions have helped firefighters make some progress against the White Rock Lake wildfire in British Columbia's Interior.
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Cooler conditions have helped firefighters make some progress against the White Rock Lake wildfire in British Columbia's Interior.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says although conditions improved over the past two days, firefighters still have their hands full battling the blaze.

Cooler temperatures, calmer winds and some light rain have allowed officials to downgrade several evacuation orders across the province, but the agency says conditions remain "very dry" near Kelowna, B.C.

Alex Van Bruksvoort, the fire chief for North Westside Fire Rescue, says he and the service know residents want to return home but are asking them to wait until conditions are safer.

The BC Wildfire Service says about 250 blazes are still burning across the province.

The Ministry of Forests says nearly 8,600 square kilometres have been burned by wildfires since the start of the fire season, and there are more than 3,600 firefighters battling blazes across the province.

The evacuation order for more than 1,300 properties and alert for 850 properties remains in place for those affected by the White Rock Lake fire.

"We understand the stress involved with the uncertainty that this fire is providing and will provide more detailed information as soon as it is available for the 1,300 evacuated properties," said Doug Gilchrist, a director with Central Okanagan Emergency Operations, in a statement.

The Mount Law wildfire, also in the Interior, continues to burn out of control and officials say crews will continue suppression efforts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press