Tyax area businesses open up after wildfire moves away 

Controlled fire helps, but some areas still under evacuation orders

The Tyax area is once again open for business as a major wildfire that threatened the area stays away.

"We will be ready to go with guests this weekend," said Dale Douglas, owner of Tyax Air, which flies in to Tyax Resort and provides guides to the many mountain bikers and other visitors who come to the area each year.

"None of the trails that we use have been damaged at all. All the fire was east of the resort and basically everybody plays west of the resort.

"The viewscape from the resort itself, you can see a bit of charred forest on one of the hill tops but it is 95 per cent the same as it was before."

Douglas said operators in the area, which rely on summer tourism for most of their income, are concerned that visitors won't come or will cancel their trips because of the fire.

"The other thing that was a concern to us was that the Forest Service stated that the fire was going to burn all summer and in people's minds they think, 'Oh my God, there is a forest fire we can't go there,'" said Douglas.

"At Tyaughton Lake you can't see any fire at all except for a little tree burning there... off in the distance.

"If you got dropped into the resort you would never know there had been a fire."

The prevailing wind is keeping the smoke to the east. Gun Lake has been smoke-free for a week and a half, said Douglas.

Some residents affected by the wildfire evacuation order in the Tyaughton Lake area are also being allowed to go home.

So far no buildings have been touched by the 8,000-hectare fire, which started May 29. It is believed that it was person-caused although specific details of how the fire may have started, or who may have started it, have not been released.

Currently the fire is considered 70 per cent contained. There were 255 firefighters, eight helicopters, and 25 pieces of heavy equipment on scene to put out the flames.

For now, Tyaughton Lake, Gun Creek Road and Mud Creek have been downgraded to evacuation alert status. Evacuation orders remain in effect for Marshall Lake, Liza Lake and Carol Lake, so those residents cannot yet go home.

In all there were about 75 evacuees. Approximately 15 are still not allowed back to their residences.

Evacuation alerts remain in place for Gun Lake, Gold Bridge, Bralorne, Tyaughton Lake, Gun Creek Road and Mud Creek. For more information on evacuation orders and alerts, contact the Squamish Lillooet Regional District at 1-866-417-4132.

Highway 40 has been reopened between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. For more information, contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure by calling 1-800-550-4997 or visiting www.drivebc.ca .

On Monday BC Forest Service fire fighters conducted a successful controlled burn of the remaining unburned fuel inside the established fireguards on the slopes to the south of Marshall Lake and Marshall Creek. This was necessary to protect homes and structures in the area, and will help prevent further spread of the fire.


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