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Evacuation order lifted after rain helps control wildfire near Vernon, B.C.

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VERNON, B.C. – An evacuation order has been downgraded to an alert for residents near Vernon, B.C., as a wildfire four kilometres south of the Okanagan city appeared to ease.

Fire information officer Taylor Colman of the BC Wildfire Service says the order involving the Clerke Road fire was lifted overnight due to rain, less than 24 hours after it was issued.

But she says an evacuation alert is still in place because residents must be ready to leave with little notice if the fire grows from 0.2 square kilometres in size.

Three evacuation orders are now in place in B.C., the largest of which is in the Fraser Canyon village of Lytton where a June 30 blaze destroyed the vast majority of buildings.

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The other orders involve the McKay Creek and Sparks Lake fires in the Kamloops fire centre, but Colman couldn’t say how many residents were forced to leave their homes.

The Napier Lake fire in the same region was also downgraded to an alert after cooler temperatures and some rain late in the week.

“There’s another couple of weeks in what’s considered the peak of the wildfire season, so hopefully things stay pretty stable and steady,” Colman said.

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The wildfire service says 18 fires in four regions of the province pose the largest risk to life and property and are therefore the top priority when it comes to fire suppression.

About 300 fires have flared up over the last 10 days, many of which were sparked by lightning. Most of the blazes took place in the Cariboo and Kamloops fire centres.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2021.

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