April 14, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

B.C. wildfires: Changes to emergency order on travel

2 min read


An emergency order restricting people from booking accommodations in wildfire-ravaged areas of B.C. will be lifted as of midnight – with the exception of West Kelowna, according to the emergency management minister.


Bowinn Ma, at a news conference Tuesday, said the order has had its desired effect and freed up thousands of spaces for evacuees and emergency personnel. It will no longer apply in Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon.


“I do want to start by thanking everybody who has complied with advice and orders. I am extremely grateful for the support of the tourism sector, for their compassion and their understanding. We know that these kinds of travel orders have an effect on their work and their livelihoods,” Ma said.


The order was introduced Saturday and limited people from booking spaces in hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, RV parks, and campgrounds. Short-term rentals, like those booked through Airbnb or Vrbo were not included.


While the order only remains in effect for West Kelowna and there is no ban on travel per se, Ma said the province is still strongly discouraging non-essential travel to Lake Country and the Shuswap.


“Now is not the time to visit them,” Ma said. “Please, please be aware that the situation is still dynamic, there may still be changes.”


Ma noted that those changes could include lifting restrictions entirely or introducing new ones depending on what the situation requires as the worst wildfire season on record continues.


The announcement came as Ma, along with Premier David Eby and other officials toured some of the most hard-hit areas in the Okanagan, where nearly 200 homes have been confirmed to have been damaged or destroyed.


“I know there’s a huge amount of stress and frustration for families who have been asked to leave their homes, people who’ve been asked to give up vacation plans, people who’ve been directly impacted who know they’ve lost their homes, people who still don’t know whether or not their home is still standing. This is such an awful time for so many people,” Eby said.


The province remains in a state of emergency with an estimated 27,000 people still out of their homes and thousands more on evacuation alert.

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