Over 120 Squamish Valley residents are being allowed to return to their homes Sunday morning, four days after they were forced to evacuate due to an encroaching wildfire.
The Squamish-Lilllooet Regional District lifted the evacuation order for the B.C. community after crews were able to get an upper hand on the Magee Road wildfire, which is now 50 per cent contained.
The 203-hectare fire is still classified as out of control, however, and an evacuation alert remains in place for some of the properties even as residents begin returning home.
The regional district confirmed structures on three properties in the Upper Squamish Valley have been destroyed by the blaze, noting some of the properties saw more than one structure lost.
“We know this is very hard news for people to hear,” the district’s board chair Tony Rainbow said in a statement.
“This is devastating for those affected. We are extremely grateful that no one was injured.”
Squamish Valley Road remains closed to non-resident traffic in the area around the wildfire, with officials urging people to stay away from the community.
An evacuation alert has been lifted by the District of Squamish for residents in nearby Paradise Valley, after BC Wildfire Service advised the fire no longer poses a danger to the area.
A local state of emergency remains in place throughout the district due to the fire, which is believed to have started from a human-started slash burn pile Wednesday and quickly spread to the slopes above the community due to windy conditions that lasted into Thursday and Friday.
Fire crews have made progress in putting out hotspots and containing the flames on the slopes and in the valley, despite tough terrain. Officials say the weather has so far worked in crews’ favour this weekend.
BC Hydro has also been working with danger tree fallers who are helping clear the way to affected power lines, as utility crews work to restore power to the area.
Fire information officer Marg Drysdale said containment is expected to remain at 50 per cent through Sunday.
Rain is expected in the forecast for Tuesday, which could help with further containment.