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Highway 1 reopened after rockfall closure near Hope wildfire

A wildfire burning beside the highway has caused slope instability.

A portion of Highway 1 outside of Hope has reopened Monday afternoon following a rockfall caused by an out-of-control wildfire.

On Sunday, the eastbound lanes of Highway 1 were closed through the area, and travellers had to detour through Agassiz using Highway 9 and 7. Westbound traffic remained open the entire time on Highway 1.

As of 3 p.m. on Monday, a single eastbound lane of the highway was reopened with reduced speeds after "it was determined safe to do so."

"The fire had caused some slope instability, resulting in a minor rockfall on the eastbound lane of the highway," the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told Glacier Media.

The Flood Falls Trail wildfire was sparked on Thursday evening in steep terrain about the Trans-Canada Highway. 

As of Monday, it's estimated to be 520 hectares in size and has 78 firefighters and seven helicopters working on the firefight. So far, 12 properties near the wildfire have been forced to leave their homes, and many others are on alert as it continues to burn.

Emil Anderson Maintenance posted the eastbound lanes are open, and they're utilizing a "counterflow" lane.

"With the current fire conditions and the additional traffic pattern changes in place, we are likely to see travel times increase. We encourage everyone to drive safely and ask that motorists watch for signs and directions from traffic controllers in the area," states the company. 

BC Wildfire Service information officer Paula Walbaeur says other debris from the fire was also falling onto the highway. 

"It's something that will definitely continue to monitor with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. We are still only having one lane open on that eastbound traffic, so that still is reduced so that there's more space there as this wildfire is along that and has high elevations and it's got some very steep terrain," she says. 

The safety of the crews and people travelling along the highway is continuously being evaluated. 

The ministry suggests travellers check DriveBC for the latest information as conditions may change.