WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — Cariboo Regional District Chairman Al Richmond says an incoming weather system will bring unpredictable winds later today and tomorrow, and the regional district is taking no chances as several wildfires threaten homes in many parts of the region.
An evacuation alert has been posted for the 10,000 residents in and around Williams Lake, about 250 kilometres south of Prince George. Richmond says the alert is to give residents time to prepare if winds force flames toward the city.
The regional district also expanded evacuation orders last night for the Alexis Creek and Kleena Kleene areas while the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen ordered another 49 homes evacuated north of Princeton as 7,300 hectare Ashcroft Reserve wildfire is still zero percent contained.
The remainder of about 300 firefighters and support staff arrive in B.C. today from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick joining colleagues that got here yesterday to help this province fight more than 200 wildfires.
More than 1,000 B.C. firefighters are already battling the blazes, including the Ashcroft Reserve fire west of Kamloops that has destroyed dozens of homes. Bob Turner of Emergency Management BC says the situation is still deteriorating, as 14,000 people have already been evacuated. Another 25,000 have been told to be ready to get out at short notice.
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 won’t get a reprieve from the weather.