LYTTON - Residents of Botanie Creek Road gathered at the Anglican Parish Hall Tuesday afternoon didn’t get the news they were hoping for, but what they did get garnered a round of applause.
They hoped to be allowed to return home but after six days away from their homes, hearing that power was going to be restored by 4 p.m. Wednesday brought jubilation and optimism from the roughly 100 evacuees and Lytton residents.
They remain under evacuation order. The fire remains an estimated 1,500 hectares and is only 15 per cent contained, according to B.C. Wildfire.
Most evacuees are staying in Lytton where the Anglican Hall has become their gathering point for information and updates from B.C. Wildfire, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Lytton First Nation and RCMP.
But not everyone evacuated, as two homeowners chose to stay, including the sister of one of the evacuees.
"There was no point in trying to dissuade her from doing so... we're hoping all is well with her,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified.
She moved to Botanie Creek from Ontario with her husband and four children under age seven just last week to stay with her sister. They chose to stay at the Lytton hotel instead of remaining with her siste in the evacuation zone. Doing so has brought her closer to the new community, she said.
"The workers (at the hall) have been amazing," she said. "It's like we got this great reception."
While it wasn't the best scenario for a recent move, she said the evacuation has given her the chance to learn more about Lytton and its residents.
"Tragedy sometimes brings the best out of people," she said.
Lytton Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot said she's happy to see members of her community come together to help those nearby.
"It's been very methodical with all the plans in place. Where they were lacking personnel, volunteers have surfaced to jump in where they were needed."
Bill Humphreys from the regional district said evacuees have been patient and cooperative while they wait to return home
One man has tried to return home on a few occasions, but Humphreys says he is aware of no other incidences.
The wildfire continues to grow and now threatens to spill down a bluff. Rod Allen with B.C. Wildfire said with terrain that steep, it will be difficult to fight the fire. But heavy rain in the forecast could get residents home soon.
Jason Tomlin, from the regional district, said before that happens, each house must be inspected. His staff will mark the house with either a green "inspected" approval sign or a red "unsafe" sign. Most houses are expected to pass inspection. One cabin was lost in the fire.
The next meeting is planned to take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday.
To contact a reporter for this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.