Provincial officials are warning those affected by wildfires to double-check that evacuation orders have indeed been lifted for their homes before returning, after police say several people had to be turned away.
Several people showed up at checkpoints after the order was rescinded on Thursday for parts of the Cariboo Regional District, said RCMP Sgt. Annie Linteau, only to find out that they still weren’t allowed back into their neighbourhoods.
“Many of these people and been driving quite a while and unfortunately had to be turned away,” Linteau told reporters on Friday.
Residents are encouraged to check out the regional district website for details on evacuation orders and alerts.
Meanwhile, wildfire officails report 12 new fires that sparked on Thursday, bringing the total number of fires currently burning in B.C. to 149. The estimated cost for the BC Wildfire Service to fight the blazes stands at $160.8 million.
The Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek, is at 70,000 hectares and is 30-per-cent contained, while the Monte Lake fire southeast of Kamloops has burned through 150 hectares and is also 30-per-cent contained.
“The air tanker base in Kamloops set a single-day record for the amount of retardant used,” said chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek. “Almost 600,000 litres.”
Slightly more than 5,000 people are still not allowed to go home around the province because of evacuation orders.
Meanwhile, BC Hydro has returned electricity to almost all customers, save for about 100.
Officials plan to have more information next week as to how much property damage the fires have caused so far.