By The Canadian Press
Sept. 21, 2017, Vancouver - For the first time in nearly three months, all wildfire evacuation orders and alerts have been lifted in British Columbia as the province begins to recover from its worst wildfire season on record.
The Cariboo Regional District and Thompson-Nicola Regional District say final alerts affecting southern Interior properties have been rescinded.
The alerts were lifted as the BC Wildfire Service reported a 1,900-square kilometre blaze that broke out near Ashcroft on July 6 and burned almost 100 kilometres northward is 85 per cent contained.
A news release from the Cariboo Regional District says with the entire region deemed ''all clear,'' its emergency operations centre will close, effective at noon.
The Regional District of East Kootenay lifted its final evacuation orders and alerts on Monday, three days after the B.C. government rescinded a provincewide state of emergency that went into effect in early July.
Fourteen wildfires of note still blaze within the Southeast, Cariboo and Kamloops fire centres but the wildfire service says cooler weather has allowed crews to make good progress containing flames that have scorched over 12,000 square kilometres of timber since April 1.
An off-road vehicle ban covering central and southeastern B.C. was removed Wednesday but campfire bans in those areas remain in effect until further notice.
More than $510 million has been spent fighting fires that, at the height of the disaster, chased almost 50,000 people from their communities.
Fires are blamed for destroying 509 structures, including 229 homes, and causing financial loss to ranchers, farmers, forestry and tourism operations.