The number of wildfires burning in British Columbia has remained steady in the range of 225 as the number of properties on evacuation order and on alert dropped in the latest statistics released by the provincial government.
Emergency Management BC says 18 evacuation orders covered 3,537 properties as of Tuesday evening, a drop of 217 from the day before.
Residents of another 6,051 properties were told to be ready to leave on short notice as 68 evacuation alerts remained in place, down by 22 from Monday.
Updates posted online by the BC Wildfire Service show cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity have helped firefighting crews across much of the province.
The service says 15 fires of note were either highly visible or posed a potential threat to public safety, though it has reported little or no growth at several major fires in recent days, including the destructive Lytton Creek and White Rock Lake blazes.
The emergency operations centre for the central Okanagan says assessments of neighbourhoods directly affected by the 830-square-kilometre White Rock Lake fire along the western banks of Okanagan Lake should be complete by Thursday.
It says preliminary assessments have confirmed that 78 properties in the Estamont and Killiney Beach areas sustained significant damage, in addition to properties destroyed in the community of Monte Lake on the fire’s opposite flank.
The centre says risk assessments will determine when evacuated residents can safely return home to their properties. Not all residents will be able to return home at the same time, it adds.
The B.C. government says 1,563 wildfires have scorched 8,653 square kilometres of land since the season began on April 1, eclipsing the 10-year average.
– The Canadian Press