The public will once again be allowed access in the area around the Doctor Creek Wildfire as of 7:00 pm on Thursday.

The official area restriction put in place for the Doctor Creek Wildfire west of Highway 93/95 near Canal Flats is being rescinded by the BC Wildfire Service at that time.

“Firefighting personnel no longer need to restrict public access to operate efficiently and safely in the area,” said the BC Wildfire Service.

A helicopter responding to the Doctor Creek Wildfire on September 11, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)

“Even if an area restriction has been rescinded, officials still have the authority under the Wildfire Act and its regulations to order anyone to leave the area,” said the wildfire authority.

As of Thursday, the Doctor Creek Wildfire remains active southwest of Canal Flats, but is classified as “being held” by firefighters. The blaze has since shrunk in size to 7,645-hectares after previously peaking at more than 8,000-hectares.

While the area restriction is being lifted, the BC Wildfire Service is still urging extreme caution to those that may want to enter the area.

“Before entering any area affected by a wildfire, members of the public should be aware that significant safety hazards may be present. Trees that have been damaged by fire might be unstable and could fall down. Ash pits can be hard to detect and can remain hot long after the flames have died down.”

The BC Wildfire Service said nearby communities can still expect to see smoke within the fire’s perimeter over the next number of weeks.

“This is common with large wildfires, and smoke will continue to be visible until there is significant rainfall at the site. Smoke appearing from well within the fire perimeter and burned material is common.”

However, the wildfire authority said if smoke is seen rising from green, unburned fuel or from outside the fire’s perimeter, the public should immediately report it toll-free at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.

The most recent area restriction map for the Doctor Creek Wildfire, issued on September 16, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)

The Doctor Creek Wildfire pictured September 11, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)

A helicopter responding to the Doctor Creek Wildfire on September 11, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)

Aerial view of the Doctor Creek Wildfire as of September 14, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)

Firefighter mopping up areas of the Doctor Creek Wildfire on September 15, 2020. (Supplied by BC Wildfire Service)