BC Wildfires: New evacuation orders issued for Williams Lake

A crew member fights one of the numerous aggressive wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre.-BC Wildfire Service Image

A crew member fights one of the numerous aggressive wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre.-BC Wildfire Service Image

About 180 wildfires were burning in central and southern B.C., including three around the Williams Lake, where 11,000 people were on standby to leave their homes.

When the fires initially started, nearly immediately, the community of Xatsull was told they were on their own, but had slowly gathered resources to fight the fires, said Mack.

Authorities in British Columbia are bracing for a hot and windy weekend that could fan the flames of even more wildfires, which have already forced 16,000 people to flee their homes across the province.

Residents who are unable to leave on their own are asked to go to one of 12 muster points in the Williams Lake, where transportation is available.

"Residents in these areas who are unable to self-evacuate must make their way to a muster point in the city immediately as buses departing the city can not wait indefinitely". That fire is now approximately 80 per cent contained and evacuees were directed to the Salvation Army Church in Kelowna at 1480 Sutherland Ave.

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Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond said that the reason for the evacuation was not because the City of Williams Lake was in any imminent danger but because of the potential for the fires to cut off the access out of the City. We would prefer if people went on to Prince George if at all possible, but they will try to accommodate them.

Lake Country officials said residents hoping to get back to their homes on Sunday were being turned away. Volunteers can contact 250-938-2211 for more information.

Crews continued to make good progress on the West Fraser Road complex of fires yesterday.

There have also been evacuations in Lake Country due to a fast-moving fire.

Wind is a major factor in the fire, gusting at 70 kilometres an hour. A few dozen homes remained under evacuation orders for the second fire in the area, burning near Lake Cachuma.

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Premier-designate John Horgan released a statement late Saturday regarding the latest evacuations.

Winds should complicate the work of firefighters.

Horgan also reiterated a pledge of government support. "We are working closely with the outgoing government and our federal partners to deliver the support and services that are needed".

There have been 616 fires since the beginning of April and they have burned about 111,408 hectares of land, according to provincial authorities.

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