Damage from the Hanceville-Riske Creek fire is extensive along Highway 20, which remains closed around Kleena Kleene. (Monica Lamb-Yorski/Williams Lake Tribune)

VIDEO: Cariboo backcountry ban lifted as risk eases

Campfires allowed again in Prince George, Northwest districts

With progress being made to contain the largest fires burning in the Interior, B.C. Wildfire Service officials have lifted the campfire ban for most of northern B.C. and removed the backcountry access ban for the Cariboo region.

Campfire bans remain in the Vanderhoof Forest District, and the Nadina Forest District including Houston, Burns Lake and Granisle west of Prince George. Local fire departments should be consulted on their own restrictions, said Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the service.

Fires bigger than half a metre square remain off limits across the province, and the off-road vehicle ban remains in place for the Cariboo.

The backcountry ban for the Cariboo region “was a pretty extraordinary move,” Skrepnek said. “People were literally not allowed to use lakes, recreational use was not allowed.”

Buffer zones around existing fires in the Cariboo will be kept off limits until they are safe.

Conditions also have improved in the southeast region, with an evacuation order near Salmo downgraded to an alert and Highway 6 reopened from Nelway to Highway 3.

Skrepnek said while Kootenay conditions are mainly stable or improving with 39 fires in the southeast region, a fire on the U.S. side of the border is being watched closely. It is burning about 20 km south of the U.S. border near the Montana community of Newgate, near Lake Koocanusa.

WATCH: Aerials of wildfire damage in B.C.’s Kootenay National Park

The largest fires continue to be those sparked by a single dry lightning storm that passed through the Fraser Canyon and Cariboo region July 6. The Plateau fire, a combined name for what was 19 fires burning west of Quesnel and northwest of Williams Lake, was at 4,647 square km as of Wednesday and remains the largest fire on record for B.C.

The Elephant Hill fire near Ashcroft was estimated at 1,660 square km and also remained stable, 35 per cent contained as hundreds of firefighters, aircraft and heavy equipment work on guard areas to prevent spreading.

Just Posted

High hazard in downtown Trail

Roofing work began early Monday morning at the Trail Memorial Centre

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Second hospital road part of plan, says Trail mayor

Martin was in Whistler last week for the UBCM; city delegation met with health ministry

Participation by women in West Kootenay/Boundary elections up slightly

More running than in 2014, but about same number as 2011

Syringa Creek fire ‘being held’

The fire has burned 3193 hectares; Deer Creek fire is also “being held” at 3849 hectares

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

Most Read