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Elephant Hill wildfire no longer safety risk, but no ATVs allowed

The Elephant Hill wildfire in July 2017. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service via Twitter)

ASHCROFT (NEWS 1130) – Nearly three months after a wildfire sparked north of Ashcroft, an area restriction around the blaze has been lifted.

The BC Wildfire Service says there is no longer a public safety risk in the area around the so-called Elephant Hill wildfire, which has reached more than 1,900 square kilometres in size.

The fire is still active, but the wildfire service says the blaze is 100 per cent contained and crews remain on the scene.

Anyone entering the area of the fire is warned that blackened trees may be unstable and could fall down, and should exercise extreme caution. Nearby communities can still expect to see smoke within the perimeter over the coming weeks. The wildfire service says that is common with large wildfires and will continue until the region receives significant rainfall or snowfall.

Also, hunters will no longer be able to use ATVs and other motor vehicles in areas around that fire and two others in the BC Interior.

The provincial government says it’s banning the use of ATVs in the area of the Elephant Hill wildfire in the Thompson Region, along with the use of all vehicles in the areas of the Chilcotin Plateau and Hanceville-Riske Creek fires in the Cariboo.

Wildfires have improved sight-lines for hunters and made areas previous only accessible by foot easier for vehicles to get to, which puts remote moose and mule deer at risk.

The province says the restriction does not apply to First Nations exercising Aboriginal rights to hun