July 21, 2009 in Region

Evacuated Kelowna, B.C., residents returning home

Associated Press

KELOWNA, British Columbia — About 6,000 evacuated West Kelowna, British Columbia, residents are returning home Tuesday while about 4,000 more people wait for firefighters to turn back a wildfire that threatens their homes.

The West Kelowna residents were ordered out Saturday as the Glenrosa forest fire burned out of control, claiming three homes and a trailer.

B.C. Forest Service officials say the blaze is now 60 percent contained. Those returning are cautioned to be ready to leave again on short notice if conditions change.

The wildfire caused smoky skies across the Inland Northwest on Monday morning, resulting in a bright orange sunrise, but the smoke cleared out of the area by afternoon.

West Kelowna Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler said a great deal of progress was made Monday. He says crews will continue checking for hot spots and doing mop-up work.

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