BOWINN Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said on Tuesday that the government is lifting travel restrictions for the purpose of staying in temporary accommodation for most of the southern Interior, with the exception of West Kelowna. The order will be lifted for Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon starting Wednesday, August 23.
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.
Ma said in a statement: “In recent days, B.C. experienced some of the most devastating wildfires in our history. We want to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who cancelled their plans to travel to the Interior in recent days, as well as to our partners in the tourism industry for their support and understanding.
“The emergency order we put in place on Saturday has had the effect we required and thousands of hotel rooms were made available for people forced from their homes, as well as the many firefighters and emergency crews who are protecting us during the worst wildfire season in our history. Working with local governments and First Nations, we will continue to place people in the accommodations that are now available.”
She added: “”If you are planning on travelling in B.C., please do so safely and avoid fire-affected communities. Know before you go and be prepared. Many communities continue to be impacted by wildfires and continue to face challenges. Listen to the direction of local communities. Respect emergency orders and alerts. While many communities in the Interior are looking forward to welcoming people, others, like Lake Country and the Shuswap, are advising that now is not a good time to visit.
“We’re asking anyone who’s travelling to monitor information from the BC Wildfire Service, EmergencyInfoBC and DriveBC. Highway 1 between Chase and Sorrento remains closed.
“We want to thank everyone for their empathy and willingness to change their plans to support their fellow British Columbians who are impacted by these devastating wildfires. The situation remains dynamic. We will continue to assess the situation, work with local governments and First Nations, and adapt our response as needed to.”