The latest news on the wildfires ravaging British Columbia

Wildfires raging throughout British Columbia have destroyed structures and forced more than 27,000 people from their homes. The province remains in a state of emergency as crews battle the more than 375 active blazes.

Here are the latest developments on the B.C. wildfires (all times are PT):

7:21 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says it is not expecting to rescind any existing evacuation orders from the McDougall Creek wildfire for the rest of the evening.

In a written statement, the agency says its priority remains returning residents to their homes, but officials are still evaluating how to do so in the "most efficient and timely manner possible."

Meanwhile, Environment Canada says rain and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast for Kelowna for tonight and tomorrow afternoon.


4:28 p.m.

B-C Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma says the province is lifting an order restricting travel to many communities in the province's southern interior at midnight.

Ma says 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.


4:18 p.m.

B-C Premier David Eby says 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 says, 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 earlier today with Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma and Forests Minister Bruce Ralston to get front-line information about B-C's fight against the wildfires.


2:57 p.m.

The president and C-E-O of Canada's public broadcaster has weighed in on Meta's ban on Canadian news content on Facebook and Instagram.

In an open letter on C-B-C's website, Catherine Tait says Meta should exempt people in the North and in Indigenous communities from the ban, since these residents depend on specific C-B-C social media accounts for things like emergency information.

Tait says the failure to provide such an exemption would not only impair people's awareness of emergency situations, but also create "a vacuum for misinformation and disinformation" on social media.


2:30 p.m.

Canadian Blood Services has put out a call for people outside the Kelowna area to donate blood and plasma.

The organization says more than 200 donation appointments have been cancelled while the community grapples with the wildfires.

It's asking anyone in the province who can safely get to a donation event to help.


1:02 p.m.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District has ended the air quality advisory that has covered most of the are asince Saturday.

The regional district says in a statement that a change in weather has reduced the amount of fine particulate matter in the air stemming from wildfire smoke in the B-C Interior.

Officials warn, however, that smoke-related air quality advisories can return at any time if the weather conditions change again, as the wildfires in the Interior remain active.


11:30 a.m.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says assessments to identify properties with significant structural damage from the McDougall Creek wildfire are complete.

It says in a statement that contacting affected residents with updates on the conditions of their properties is a priority today for West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

The emergency centre says three of four property owners in the City of Kelowna have already been contacted to confirm "significant" structural damage, along with the owners of three properties in the District of Lake Country.


11 a.m.

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund says the urban search and rescue team brought in to help with the wildfire response has finished its work in his community.

Brolund says the team used specially trained dogs to search affected sites, finding no evidence that anyone had died, and there are no outstanding missing persons.

The chief estimates the total number of structures completely or partially lost in West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nation will be less than 90.

He says firefighters have saved more than 3,000 structures.


The BC Wildfire Service's Brad Litke says the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna is currently estimated at 120 square kilometres.

He says the fire in the City of Kelowna is estimated at nearly eight square kilometres and the blaze in the District of Lake Country is nearly four.

Litke says the area is expecting light winds today, along with a possible thunderstorm and light rain.


9:30 a.m.

WorkSafeBC says employers and workers should stay "vigilant" when it comes to health risks posed by smoke exposure.

It says prolonged exposure can lead to problems including respiratory issues, an aggravation of asthma, eye irritation and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.

It says employers should limit strenuous outdoor work, encourage breaks in spaces with better indoor air quality and make sure workers who are outside have properly fitting N95 masks.


7:37 a.m.

The B.C. premier's office has released a tentative schedule for David Eby, Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma and Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, who are visiting the fire-ravaged southern Interior.

It says they will be visiting Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Kelowna and Penticton today.

The schedule shows they will meet with local First Nation leadership, evacuees, fire chiefs and crews.


7:15 a.m.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says the federal government will fund the cost of the evacuations for First Nations in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

But she says the total evacuation and recovery costs remain undetermined because the fires are still burning.

Hajdu also says Ottawa will help communities that are having cash flow problems as a result of the evacuations.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 22, 2023.

The Canadian Press