Western Canada wildfires prompt evacuations of thousands in British Colombia

Around 3 p.m. on Friday, Cariboo Regional District upgraded an evacuation alert to an order for an estimated 2,050 properties in an area west of Highway 97 spanning from the northern boundary of 100 Mile House to the northern tip of Lac La Hache.

Richmond said that will allow crews and more equipment to come into the area to battle the wildfires and allow for people to leave the Williams Lake area if they need to.

Both the Ashcroft and Cache Creek fire departments are also attending to the blaze in that area.

He says numerous fires were started by lightning, but some are human-caused.

More hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms, is in the forecast over the weekend, which doesn't bode well for wildfire risk.

"The fire has burned past them and those structures are still in place, so those units ... protected those homes for those folks", he said.

District Director Al Richmond said that changes in wind direction and the threat of heavy smoke caused the Cariboo Regional District to order the evacuation of people between 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, said the fire broke out Thursday and that 120 firefighters have been assigned to build guards along the fire's eastern flank, nearest to the communities ordered to evacuate.

"It is growing quickly, with high winds in the area", said Justine Hunse, communications officer for the service. "Every other road, logging road, is shut right down".

The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take necessary action to fight wildfires and protect residents and their communities.

An emergency reception centre is being set up at the Riverside Community Centre in Princeton.

  • Rogelio Becker