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B.C. Wildfires: Travel and hotel restrictions lifting for West Kelowna

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Travel and hotel restrictions lifted in West Kelowna'
B.C. wildfires: Travel and hotel restrictions lifted in West Kelowna
WATCH: The British Columbia government has lifted travel and hotel accommodation restrictions for West Kelowna that were implemented as crews battled a devastating wildfire – Aug 25, 2023

The British Columbia government says it is lifting travel and hotel accommodation restrictions for West Kelowna that were implemented in the wake of a devastating wildfire.

The restrictions will lift at midnight on Thursday, Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma said in a media release.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Frustrations flare in Shuswap'
B.C. wildfires: Frustrations flare in Shuswap

“Because of the support of people and accommodation providers, we were able to support local governments and First Nations in securing enough hotel rooms to meet the high demand of evacuees who needed a place to stay. We’ve also been able to book additional hotel rooms in case they are needed,” Ma said.

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“West Kelowna looks forward to welcoming tourists into safe areas in the community once again. If you are planning on travelling in B.C., please do so safely and avoid fire-affected communities.”

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Ma thanked anyone who had changed or cancelled travel plans that would have brought them into the area, as well as the tourism industry for being flexible during the crisis.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Cooler, favourable conditions help in Central Okanagan'
B.C. wildfires: Cooler, favourable conditions help in Central Okanagan

The province implemented travel restrictions to the Southern Interior on Saturday, a day after declaring a state of provincial emergency due to an explosion in wildfire activity amid strong winds and dry conditions.

The order was lifted for the rest of the region earlier this week.

The province issued the order to ensure there was enough accommodations for thousands of evacuees, along with first responders and wildfire crews who were flooding the area.

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The situation became particularly dire in the West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and North Shuswap areas, where the McDougall Creek and Bush Creek East wildfires tore into heavily populated areas.

At the peak of the emergency, more than 27,000 people were ordered to leave their homes. Nearly 200 homes in the Kelowna area have been confirmed to have been damaged or destroyed, and scores more in the North Shuswap have been lost.

Some evacuation orders on the west side of Okanagan Lake have since been downgraded, and on Thursday all evacuees in the City of Kelowna were given the green light to return home.

Click to play video: 'Poomba the pig survives West Kelowna wildfire'
Poomba the pig survives West Kelowna wildfire

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