Kelowna: B.C. Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma on Tuesday said the province is lifting an order restricting travel to many communities in the province’s southern interior at midnight.

Ma said non-essential travel to West Kelowna will still be prohibited, and officials are strongly advising travellers to stay away from Lake Country and the Shuswap region.

The order was put in place Saturday and restricted travel for the purpose of freeing up temporary accommodations in many communities including Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops.

B.C. Premier David Eby said he understands the concerns of people who are affected by the wildfires in the province’s southern interior, especially those who have been asked to evacuate and are reluctant to do so.

Eby said, however, that emergency officials do not issue evacuation orders lightly, and not leaving could potentially cost the lives of people who stay behind and first responders who may need to carry out a rescue.

Eby toured the Shuswap, Kamloops and Kelowna regions earlier on Tuesday with Bowinn Ma and Forests Minister Bruce Ralston to get front-line information about B.C.’s fight against the wildfires. — Canadian Press

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