B.C. to lift travel restrictions for most wildfire-hit cities in the south
The government of British Columbia said travel restrictions in the province’s wildfire-affected interior would largely be lifted starting Wednesday, with the exception of West Kelowna where non-essential travel remains prohibited.
The Emergency Order restricting non-essential use of temporary accommodations will be lifted for Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon, the government said in a press release.
Travel restrictions will be lifted for #Kelowna, #Kamloops, #OliverBC, #Osoyoos, #Penticton & #VernonBC, effective August 23, 2023. Non-essential travel to #WestKelowna remains prohibited if staying in temporary accommodation. More info: https://t.co/HLH2cG7yvR #BCwildfire
— Emergency Info BC (@EmergencyInfoBC) August 23, 2023
Bowinn Ma, British Columbia’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said the emergency order put in place on Saturday that put thousands of people in temporary accommodations has had its required effect, and the provincial government will continue to collaborate with local governments and first nations to accommodate displaced people.
“Non-essential travel to West Kelowna continues to be prohibited for the purpose of staying in temporary accommodation, including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, RV parks, and campgrounds, to ensure accommodation is available for those who may need it,” she said in a statement.
Update: This emergency order will be lifted, effective midnight, *except* for West Kelowna.
Lots of communities eager to welcome tourism back, but some are not ready. West Kelowna, Lake Country, Shuswap in particular are asking tourists to continue staying away. #BCWildfire https://t.co/w6q2nkhvBj
— Bowinn Ma (@BowinnMa) August 23, 2023
Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record, with more than 50,000 people forced to displace in the past week, including the entire population of the Northwest Territories’ capital Yellowknife.
Last week, thousands of residents in British Columbia were put on evacuation notice after a wildfire in the McDougall Creek, and an evacuation alert was issued for portions of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area.