Some Lake Country residents feel ‘lucky’ to be home following evacuation order downgrade

Click to play video: 'Some Lake Country residents return home'
Some Lake Country residents return home
WATCH: After favourable conditions on the fire lines over the past several nights, some evacuation orders in the Central Okanagan have been lifted. In Lake Country, where as our Jayden Wasney reports, many are eager to get back to their homes. – Aug 22, 2023

For some Central Okanagan residents who have been forced to flee their homes due to wildfires, there have been many sleepless nights.

“It’s stressful, its eerie, and its unknown,” describes Lake Country resident, Nicole Braun.

On Monday evening, some Lake Country residents whose homes had been placed under an evacuation order received good news that it was safe to return home – providing those who weren’t sure if their homes would still be standing, a chance to breathe a sigh of relief.

“It’s just been a couple long days. We have been bouncing from place to place, and we’re glad to stop bouncing,” said Maggie Scott.

“I missed my bed so that will be nice.”

Click to play video: 'Kelowna evacuees eager to see evacuation orders lifted'
Kelowna evacuees eager to see evacuation orders lifted

For other Lake Country residents like Kimberley and Evan Allardyce, they too were feeling on edge about the situation, after having to leave their home with very little warning.

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“Friday was the most stressful day, with how fierce those winds were, and we didn’t really know — I was pretty anxious on Friday,” said Kimberley Allardyce.

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“We know the fire came relatively close behind our home so that was very concerning.”

Despite being away from their home for four days with their two kids and two cats, they consider themselves fortunate to have been able to stay with family and friends close by.

“We’re lucky enough to have friends up in Vernon and family down here in Lake Country who weren’t under order,” said Evan.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Grouse Complex wildfire still out of control'
B.C. wildfires: Grouse Complex wildfire still out of control

“We were amongst the lucky ones for sure.”

The couple tells Global News they feel like a weight has been taken off their shoulders, after finally walking through the front door of their home.

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“We were amongst the first to have the evacuation order lifted, so to be able to get back and be able to see the house and know that everything is OK and see the neighbours, it’s a bit of normalcy returning which is really good,” said Evan.

“Yeah, just a huge sense of relief for sure,” expressed Kimberley.

In both Lake Country and Kelowna, conditions have been steadily improving, something Kelowna’s fire chief hopes will continue before temperatures are expected to reach into the 30’s this weekend.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: West Kelowna evacuees begin to return home'
B.C. wildfires: West Kelowna evacuees begin to return home

“We’re hoping for good news over the next couple days with the weather change, and better clarity, and better eyes from up top, and we’ll continue to provide information through the EOC to make sure you’re all well informed,” said Kelowna fire chief, Travis Whiting.

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Parts of Lake Country did receive some scattered precipitation on Tuesday, and while that is a good sign for those on the front lines of the Grouse Complex wildfire, the reality is many are still patiently waiting to go home.

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