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Aerial view of the Donnie Creek Wildfire is shown in this handout image provided by the BC Wildfire Service.HO/The Canadian Press

Residents forced out by a wildfire last week in the northeastern British Columbia community of Tumbler Ridge were allowed to return home Thursday.

More than 2,000 people had been ordered to leave last week when a fast-moving wildfire encroached on the town.

A statement on the District of Tumbler Ridge website says an evacuation alert will remain in place indefinitely, “and residents are reminded to be ready to evacuate the area with little notice should the need be determined.”

Residents were told to leave on June 8 when the West Kiskatinaw wildfire threatened to overrun the community.

Recent rain and a change in winds calmed the wildfire, although it remains classified as out of control.

For returning residents, the district says Highway 52-N has reopened between Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge, and residents will also be able to use highways 29S and 52E, via the Kelly Lake Road.

The BC Wildfire Service says the West Kiskatinaw fire has grown to 250 square kilometres since it was discovered on June 6.

Cooler weather has also stalled growth of a huge wildfire north of the Tumbler Ridge blaze that remains just a few kilometres from the Alaska Highway.

A statement from the wildfire service says travel on the key route linking Yukon and the northeast corner of B.C. to the rest of the province could be affected within a day or two as the 5,000-square-kilometre Donnie Creek wildfire expands.

An evacuation alert covers both sides of a section of the highway between Fort Nelson and Fort St. John and the wildfire service says teams are protecting critical infrastructure along the route and could use planned ignitions to create back burns to keep flames away from the road.

Containment lines are holding around the Vancouver Island wildfire that closed Highway 4 east of Port Alberni on June 6, cutting off paved access to that city and the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet.

Efforts to clear fallen trees and rocks above the highway are under way and the province has said limited travel could resume by next weekend.

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