Music festival that was cancelled due to wildfire is back on for a final night
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SALMO, B.C. — A weekend music festival in southern British Columbia that was cancelled due to an encroaching wildfire was put back on Sunday, although an evacuation alert remained in effect for the area.
Organizers of the Shambhala Music Festival said in an email Sunday that damp, cool weather downgraded the threat of the fire moving close to the Salmo River ranch property where the event is held.
"We invite all our guests to stay and celebrate with us for the final night of our 20th Annual Shambhala Music Festival," organizers stated in the email.
"Music acts might not continue as scheduled, but we will have a new schedule for this evening."
They said the decision followed hours of meetings on Sunday morning with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and other local government.
An evacuation alert means people must be ready to leave an area on a moment's notice.
Police said there's still a steady stream of people leaving the festival in an orderly fashion.
"Evacuation plans remain in place and we'll be closely monitoring activity and dealing directly with the organizers throughout the day," RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts said.
The regional district had issued the evacuation alert Saturday morning after the BC Wildfire Service reported that flames had crossed the Salmo River and were heading toward the tiny community of Salmo.
Festival organizers said they made the decision to cancel Saturday based on the advice of local officials.
Ryan Turcot with the fire service said Sunday the McCormick Creek fire, which is 337 hectares in size, continues to burn about nine kilometres south of the festival site.
"Overnight last night, there wasn't any significant growth of the fire. The fire did receive 1.2 mm of precipitation as of 9 o'clock this morning," Turcot told a news briefing Sunday, noting it isn't a lot of rain.
"Contingency guard lines have been established around this fire and it is currently 15 per cent contained."
The response from festival-goers to the news the festival would continue ranged from anger, to sympathy for the organizers.
The festival posted on its Facebook page that anyone with their admission wristbands could return. However, some people responded that they had already travelled hundreds of kilometres away and discarded their bracelets.
Elsewhere in B.C., numerous communities received new evacuation orders over the weekend.
Turcot said 28 new fires were sparked in the province between Saturday and Sunday, most of which were from lightning. Gusty winds, he said, caused aggressive growth in the Caribou region.
Roberts said RCMP noticed some of the fires in that region and made a "tactical decision" to order an evacuation involving residents in the Canim Lake, Hawkins Lake and the Canim Lake First Nation before officials issued formal evacuation orders.
She noted that in Alexis Creek, where police helped people leave, officers removed items from the RCMP detachment in the community.
On the south shores of Green Lake where an order was issued, Roberts said some people didn't leave. But she said they changed their minds when buildings started to burn.
"This did hamper efforts of emergency services, but we were able to get back in and assist those evacuations," Roberts said.
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