KAMLOOPS, B.C. – The head of emergency management in British Columbia says the province’s wildfire situation will remain challenging for several weeks.
More than 200 fires burned across the province yesterday, but Bob Turner of Emergency Management BC says the situation is still deteriorating.
He says about 14,000 people have been evacuated and the government’s priority is keeping residents safe.
The Cariboo Regional District expanded an evacuation order last night to cover the Alexis Creek and West Fraser areas in addition to the Kleena Kleene region.
An evacuation alert – which puts residents on notice that they might be told to leave with little warning – was issued for the more than 10,000 residents of Williams Lake late last night. Municipal officials warned that wind and lightning forecast for tomorrow could push fires towards the city at a “rapid pace.”
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District added more areas to its evacuation alert in the Cache Creek area, saying a “rapidly moving wildfire” continues to pose an “imminent threat. The expanded alert includes 57 addressed in three electoral districts.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says gusty winds and hot, dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the province over the next several days, meaning fire crews will not get a reprieve from the weather.
The fires, which have scorched about 400 square kilometres of land, are being fought by some 1,000 B.C. firefighters, with about 300 colleagues and support staff arriving from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.