(Will Johnson/Nelson Star)

(Will Johnson/Nelson Star)

UPDATE: Emergency personnel disagree with decision to re-open Shambhala

Organizers have told people they can stay

The party is back on at the Shambhala Music Festival as organizers have told people they can stay.

While many festival goers have already left, organizers say that the overnight rain was behind the decision.

In a post shared on Facebook late Sunday morning, organizer Jenna Arpita said that the festival will go on. The Salmo River Ranch remains under evacuation alert.

“After hours of meetings and consultation this morning, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, other local government and a fire behavioural analyst, we have been approved for Shambhala Music Festival to remain open for our final night,” she stated. “We invite all our guests to stay and celebrate with us for the final night of our 20th annual Shambhala Music Festival.”

However regional fire Chief Andrew Bellerby said that the RDCK did not approve of the decision to re-open the festival. On Saturday, they had recommended closing the festival a day early.

RELATED: Shambhala Music Festival cancels Sunday night lineup

“It’s entirely up to those guys. It’s a private function and they’ve made their own decision due to their own risk assessment,” said Bellerby. “The rain has cooled the wildfire down in BC Wildfire [Service’s] opinion but there is a wildfire burning in the area.”

Organizer Britz Robbins said improved conditions made staff feel confident that re-opening the festival was a safe choice.

“Yesterday, we were facing high winds and erratic behaviour of the fire,” Robbins said. “We have damp cool, cool weather that had downgraded the threat of the fire moving closer to the Salmo River Ranch property.”

RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said that the police were in constant communication with festival organizers.

“We’re aware of the decision for the festival to continue [Sunday],” said Roberts. “We have plans in place to support based on fire activity.”

Ed Miska, executive director of engineering services at the transportation, noted that there is “a robust traffic control” plan in place for Shambhala. Roberts said that so far, all indications are that those leaving are doing so in an orderly fashion.

Arpita noted that while the festival is continuing, performances might differ from those originally scheduled for Sunday night. A new schedule is expected to be posted shortly.

All attendees with a wristband are allowed back in. Sunday tickets are available for $180.

WATCH: Nelson Star reporter Will Johnson is on scene:

More to come.

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