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Many evaucees returning home, but threat of fires far from over

Last Updated Jul 18, 2017 at 7:55 pm PDT

Mayor John Ranta says you can show support by coming for a visit and staying overnight this summer. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Evacuation orders for these people have been downgraded to alerts

People going home are being reminded to leave at a moment's notice

1,000 Cache Creek residents, along with people from 47 homes north of Princeton, are among those returning home

CACHE CREEK (NEWS 1130) – People from Cache Creek and now some people north of Princeton are being allowed to head home today after being forced out by wildfires.

1,000 Cache Creek residents, along with people from 47 homes north of Princeton, are definitely happy but they may not have time to get too comfortable.

Though the evacuation order has been lifted, Cache Creek Fire Chief Tom Moe says an alert is still in place for the area. 

“They have an hours notice to leave if it gets upgraded to an order again, I mean there’s still smoke in the hills, it could happen. Praying that it doesn’t.”

Moe is one of the few people who didn’t leave Cache Creek when everyone else had to head to Kamloops more than a week ago.

“It feels incredible to see all these cars coming back home, and that’s what we’ve been working for these 12 days. Pretty emotional right here,” says Moe.

He claims the flames got so close at one point they were thinking of evacuating the fire hall.

Though an alert is still in effect for the area, Moe says he’s looking forward to having a break.

“I’ve been putting in 16,18 hour days and it’d be good to get a rest.”

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta is certainly happy people have started to come home.

“I was getting lonely here, and I’m sure the volunteer fire department was as well. They’ve done a heck of a job over the last 11 days patrolling the community.”

Ranta adds he and his team are doing all they can to make it easy for people to settle back in.

“We’re setting up a small resiliency centre down at the Cache Creek park with United Way and other assets that will be available if there are people that need assistance.”

There are now more than 45 thousand evacuees across the province, up from just over 40,000 yesterday with 155 wildfires still active.

The weather forecast has some dry lighting for the Hope and Princeton Corridor which could pose a problem, while the Cariboo and Southern Interior may get some scattered rain.

The Hanceville-Riske Creek fire continues to be the biggest fire at an estimated 98,000 hectares. The White Lake fire is second and poses the biggest risk to Williams Lake because it’s just five kilometres northwest of the city.

The Ashcroft reserve fire has been renamed the ‘Elephant Hill fire’ and still poses a risk to people in the area, but is 30 per cent contained.

The Red Cross hopes to have home cleaning kits available to those returning to their homes.