B.C. wildfires, evacuation orders continue to drop as government urges caution

A firefighting crew is seen in an image shared to the B.C. Wildfire Service Twitter account.

Residents of more than 970 properties have been allowed to return home as the number of evacuation orders due to wildfires in British Columbia dropped to 2,566 on Wednesday night.

Emergency Management BC says residents of another 3,900 properties that were on evacuation alert, meaning they should be ready to leave on short notice, decreased by about 2,150 on Wednesday night from the day before.

While the number of wildfires also dropped to 216 on Thursday, the provincial government is urging the public to make sure their activities over the Labour Day long weekend don't spark any new blazes.

Forests Minister Katrine Conroy says in a statement that wildfire crews still have significant work ahead of them to bring the existing fires under control.

Campfires, fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches and other items are banned across the Kamloops fire centre, where 11 of 15 remaining fires of note are located, meaning the fires were either highly visible or posed a potential threat to public safety.

The province says 2021 has been one of the most destructive seasons on record in B.C. with 1,562 fires scorching more than 8,650 square kilometres since April 1.