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The mayor of Williams Lake, B.C, a community evacuated one week ago due to the threat of raging wildfires, says he’s hopeful that some residents can return early next week.

Mayor Walt Cobb told CTV News Channel on Saturday that the fires burning in the region have moved away from the city of 11000, creating a “a much safer situation.”

However, Cobb says that even if some residents are allowed to return early next week, an evacuation alert will likely remain in place and people would need to be prepared to evacuate again if ordered to do so. Smoke from a wildfire near Williams Lake, B.C. is seen in this photo from July 15, 2017. Wildfire evacuees are seen near Williams Lake, B.C. in this photo from July 15, 2017. And some people will be advised not to come home immediately, including those who cannot drive themselves away in the event of another evacuation order, and people who live in retirement homes.

“They’re in a safe place now and all taken care of,” Cobb said. “So I would suggest that leave them.”

The hospital emergency room could be open as early as Monday, but other services may be limited, Cobb said.

“One of the first things I would make sure to do,” he said, “is … bring a couple of days’ supply of groceries and whatnot in case not all the stores are operating.”

Scott Nelson, a city councillor who stayed behind in Williams Lake to operate his motel and assist emergency responders, told CTV News Channel Saturday that he agrees things are “looking very good for re-entry.”

But Nelson stressed that all depends on the weather. While recent rains have helped, the conditions could worsen.

“The weather yesterday was really clear,” he said. “Today is a windy day.”

As of Sunday morning, evacuation alerts covering several hundred properties in the region were lifted, but about 43,000 people remained displaced by wildfires burning around the province.

An evacuation order for 100 Mile House and surrounding area was lifted Saturday, but an evacuation alert remains in effect for the region. Residents are allowed to return home, but air quality in the region remains poor.

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