More than half of the roughly 11,000 fire evacuees ordered to leave West Kelowna on the weekend were given the go-ahead to return home yesterday.
The 6,000 Glenrosa residents are still on evacuation alert in case the massive wildfire that threatened their community and destroyed nine buildings — three of which were homes — reignites.
Two other forest fires are still blazing nearby.
“The surrounding area (is) horrible to look at,” said Glenrosa resident Mary Timm. “You noticed it as soon as you came into the neighbourhood … The pine trees and evergreens and all of that are gone.”
She said one home in a nearby orchard was levelled by the fire.
“It was a pretty sad sight,” she said.
Norma Marton, who also lives in Glenrosa, said she was thrilled to learn she could go home and let life return to normal.
“I just went up to the mayor and asked him if our (street) was on the list and he just looked it up and said, ‘Yes, you can go home tomorrow.’”
Marton then took her daughter — whose home she’s been staying at — for a celebratory pedicure while waiting for the road to Glenrosa to reopen.
She said there were long lineups of people waiting to get back to their homes.
“We’re still on alert and it’s still pretty smoky up here … I think everybody’s just relieved and happy to be home,” Marton said.
She added the evacuation was a learning experience for the community.
“It’s going to happen again,” she said.
- PHOTOS: What's Brewing in Steamy Hallows, the Harry Potter-Inspired Cafe19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum doesn't hold back23 Pictures