More than 1,500 properties in B.C.’s Cariboo region have been placed under evacuation orders as wildfires rage throughout the area, with thousands more on alert in case the situation worsens.
The Cariboo Regional District issued the order Wednesday for 1,074 properties in the area from Flat Lake to Green Lake, south of 100 Mile House. Another order covers 482 properties to the east, from Canim Lake to Mahood Lake.
“Due to immediate danger to life safety due to fire, members of the RCMP or other groups will be expediting this action,” the district said.
The entire community of 100 Mile House and people in the Horse Lake area are now under evacuation alerts. Roughly 2,000 people are living in 100 Mile, while the Horse Lake bulletin covers 3,086 properties.
People in those areas are asked to be prepared to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
West of Fort St. James, another evacuation order remains in effect because of a wildfire near Camsell Lake. It includes Yekooche First Nation reserves as well as portions of Rubyrock Lake Provincial Park and Sutherland River Park.
There are seven wildfires of note burning in the Cariboo region as of Wednesday. The largest are those burning around Flat Lake and Canim Lake.
The BC Wildfire Service said much of the central part of the province is at extreme risk of wildfires, with more than 300 fires burning across B.C. Two dozen provincewide are highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.
Evacuations, Highway Closures Continue Amid Wildfires
Major highways remain closed in the province Wednesday, including Highway 97 north of 70 Mile House, and Highway 20 in the Anahim Lake region. The latter is the only highway through B.C.’s Chilcotin region.
Meanwhile, to the south, evacuation orders issued for the Kamloops area late Tuesday are still in effect. The orders cover more than 180 properties around the city, including areas near Savona and Copper Creek.
The fire responsible, known as the Sparks Lake fire, is roughly 402 square kilometres. There have been reports of buildings damaged or destroyed by the flames, but the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has not been able to verify the damage.
North of Lytton, an order is in place for 17 properties in the Gladwin Mobile Home Park and Jade Springs area, east of the village, because of the Lytton Creek wildfire.
Environment Canada’s Air Quality Statements Still in Effect
Much of central and eastern British Columbia is under a special weather bulletin warning of smoky skies, as hundreds of wildfires rage out of control in the province.
Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement, warning of the smoke for the next few days in areas stretching from the Interior north to Yukon and east to the Alberta boundary.
Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada, said B.C. residents should be prepared for smoky skies to linger into the fall.
“We’re going to see this for months,” he said in an interview. “There’s smoke all over, from Alaska down to Mexico. All we need … is the wind to go the wrong direction and bring it back up from other locations.”
Four areas in the province also remain under a heat warning, including the Fraser Canyon, where the village of Lytton was destroyed by fire last month, with daytime highs predicted of up to 38 C.
The province is asking residents to remain cautious and be responsible for preventing possible fires, after the wildfire service, RCMP and Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to five suspicious blazes Tuesday night. All are believed to have been human-caused.
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