B.C. wildfires: Travel restriction to West Kelowna lifted midnight Thursday The Vancouver Sun·Joseph Ruttle CA|August 25, 2023·01:51am The B.C. government has lifted a travel restriction to West Kelowna as the wildfire threat eases in the community. Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said travel and accommodations are open to anyone effective at midnight (Aug. 25). “Over the past week, B.C. has experienced severe wildfires with devastating impacts for people and communities,” said Ma in a statement. “My heart is with everyone who has been affected by the fires, including those who are at risk of losing their home and those who have already received confirmation that their home has been lost.” Ma thanked everyone who changed their travel plans after the restrictions were issued on Aug. 19 at the height of the wildfire that swept through and destroyed dozens of homes in the community on the west side of Okanagan Lake. “We also want to thank the tourism industry for being nimble, supportive and understanding, and stepping up to make space available for evacuees, as well as for the many firefighters and emergency crews who are protecting us.” With the help of local providers and the support of local governments and First Nations, Ma said enough hotel rooms have been secured to house evacuees in need of a place to stay. Other rooms have been booked in case they are needed. Travellers continue to be advised to avoid other areas that are affected by fires, and to check on conditions before venturing out. “Many communities continue to be impacted by wildfires and face challenges. Listen to the direction of local communities and respect emergency orders and alerts.” Ma said parts of the Shuswap including Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Shuswap Lake — excluding areas impacted by fires — are eager to have tourists return. Many parts of the Okanagan are also on board to accommodate visitors, but places like Lake Country are still not ready. Anyone planning travel in B.C. in the coming days should check the B.C. Wildfire Service , EmergencyInfoBC and DriveBC . The provincial state of emergency declared on Aug. 18 remains in effect.
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