RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces gathered at the Resiliency Centre at Boitanio Mall after taking down evacuation check points throughout Williams Lake and area Thursday mid-morning. (Angie Mindus photos)

Williams Lakers finally allowed home after wildfire

Residents return nearly two weeks after blaze prompted evacuation order

Thousands of Williams Lake and area residents can pack their bags and come home.

Officials from the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District and Williams Lake Indian Band announced that the that several of the area’s evacuation orders due to wildfire in Williams Lake surrounding areas in the Cariboo Regional District were lifted on Thursday.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you home,” said Mayor Walt Cobb.

‘The most important consideration before we did this was, of course, your safety. Before deciding to return, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I encourage you to consider that wildfire activity continues in the area, air quality remains poor and the area still will remain on evacuation alert.

“You still need to be prepared to leave on short notice. The wildfires near our community are not 100 per cent contained and due to the changing weather conditions and evacuation could happen and the alert will remain in place.”

Many rural areas surrounding Williams Lake have been on an evacuation order since July 7, while city residents were ordered to leave following the second firestorm that occurred July 15.

For more past stories on the firestorm in William Lake, click here.

More to come.