Sunday morning view at B.C. Wildfire Service camp in the Peace region

Rain, snow slow northern B.C. wildfires, evacuees head home

Alberta crews join B.C. Wildfire Service on cross-border Siphon Creek fire as hundreds of people leave emergency shelters

Evacuation orders were lifted for northeastern B.C. wildfire areas Sunday, allowing hundreds of people to return home.

Rain and snow helped B.C. Wildfire Service crews slow the advance of B.C.’s two largest fires, the Beatton Airport Road fire and the Siphon Creek fire, which was estimated at 41,000 hectares by Sunday. With a third of the fire east of the B.C. border, Alberta crews began working on their portion Sunday.

The reprieve could be short-lived. Weather is expected to turn back to warmer and drier conditions Monday.

Evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts for the Beatton fire, where 572 people had taken emergency shelter from the area north of Fort St. John. That included 220 people allowed to return to the Blueberry First Nation community.

There are still 88 addresses subject to evacuation alert for the Siphon Creek fire, but residents of 11 addresses were allowed to go home.

B.C. Wildfire Service reached full staff Sunday after a final training session was completed, said provincial fire information officer Ryan Turcot in a briefing for reporters Sunday.

There are 78 fires on the map by Sunday after seven new starts on Saturday. Turcot said most of these early fires are human caused and preventable.