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Coquihalla reopens to essential travel only, no stopping

Highway 5 is now open after wildfires forced a closure on Sunday
Highway 5 at Othello, about 11 km east of Hope. (DriveBC)

The Coquihalla is open between Hope and Merritt after wildfires forced the highway to closed on Sunday, Aug. 15.

Highway 5 was forced to close due to the July Lake wildfire combined with the Brook Creek blaze and burning on both sides of the main artery connecting the Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan regions with the Lower Mainland.

While the highway is open, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has issued a directive for summer travellers, asking that they do not come to fire-affected areas for non-essential reasons.

There will be no facilities open along the Coquihalla, which means motorists will not be allowed to stop and all on/off ramps will be closed.

Drivers are cautioned to watch for wildlife and debris on the roadway.

The July Mountain fire burning at the side of the Coquihalla highway is an estimated 20,860 hectares in size.

Currently, there are more than 130 properties on evacuation order for the July Mountain and Brook Creek wildfires, issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

As of Monday night, Highway 1 was shut down indefinitely between Hope and Cache Creek due to a mudslide near Spences Bridge.

READ MORE: Westside Road community mourns the loss of shop in White Rock Lake wildfire

READ MORE: Stay out of evacuation zones: RCMP


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Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

Graduate of BCIT working in the field of journalism for 16 years
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