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Evacuation order given to Williams Lake, BC due to wildfires

17 Juillet 2017

He says he was able to save all his livestock the day the fire started and he's grateful for firefighters working in the area.

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. "So, what we're doing to make it a little bit more orderly, and so people don't have to stand too long is providing them with a number, and then they can come back for registration in that number". It's forced many of his neighbours to abandon their homes.

A little more than half those residents had left voluntarily during an evacuation alert, but the remaining thousands streamed south to Kamloops overnight, a drive that normally takes about three hours taking upward of eight or nine for some.

BC's Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said his No. 1 worry is the cold front that is expected to barrel through the Pacific Coast province bringing with it significant winds.

Emergency Management BC instructed drivers to head south from Williams Lake on Highway 97.

"We're still doing a lot of structural protection".

There have also been evacuations in Lake Country due to a fast-moving fire. The five year average for this time of year is 70 fires burning 385 hectares, said Shaughnessy.

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Residents are encouraged to prepare to evacuated their premises or property should it be required.

The 55-hectare blaze is about 50 per cent contained thanks to the quick work of firefighters, but residents are not being allowed to return home yet.

While fire activity has ramped up in the past few weeks, Skrepnek said, 2017 is not an unusual intense fire season.

That danger had already caused other evacuation orders in the areas surrounding Williams Lake earlier on on Saturday, including Loon Lake and Big Creek, and evacuation alerts in Tatla Lake and the Village of Clinton.

An evacuation order has also been ordered for people living around 150 Mile House to Polley Lake.

The Wildwood fire, burning at 2,500 hectares just north of the city is now 40 per cent contained, Skrepnek said.

Fifteen of those fires pose an immediate threat to communities, the largest of those is burning near Ashcroft and now covers 423 square kilometres.

Evacuation order given to Williams Lake, BC due to wildfires