Evacuation Order Issued For Williams Lake

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

About 188 fires are now burning in the interior of the province that has been hit with a spell of hot and dry weather, creating ideal conditions for forest fires. More than 3,000 personnel are now working on the fires.

She said the fire is burning very aggressively because of the weather, the dry fuel and the region's topography.

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

"It's complex", Dupont said.

Three new evacuation orders and three new evacuation alerts have been issued in the last 24 hours, including an order in Loon Lake and an alert for the Village of Clinton, due to to the Ashcroft Reserve fire moving north.

Another fast-moving fire raced through brush and forest above Okanagan Lake in the community of Lake Country on Saturday, destroying eight homes.

Officials are asking evacuees to register with the Red Cross by calling 1‐800‐863‐6582 and have set up 500 cots at the arena and hope to add another 200.

"We made the decision to get everybody while we could, because depending on how the fire went, we might have lost all our access out of town", he said. "But at this point we're saying 'numerous, ' and it is quite numerous".

Windsor said no one has been seriously hurt by the fire, but some firefighters have been treated for minor injuries.

According to Wildfire BC containment is defined as " the completion of a control line around a fire and any associated spot fires which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire's spread".

When an evacuation alert was issued for Williams Lake on Monday (July 10), many residents began preparing for an exodus.

Many of Williams Lake's 11,000 residents had left voluntarily in recent days, however the order means thousands more will be headed to safety in Kamloops and other cities.

The timing of the evacuation, ordered just before 6 p.m., was driven by fears that fires could shortly cut that last route out of Williams Lake.

Residents who had been forced to leave earlier this week from numerous other Cariboo communities were also told to go to Kamloops.

"Richmond said Williams Lake was not being threatened by flames but the major concern was keeping the highways open".

Forests Minister John Rustad said on Sunday that 2,900 people are battling blazes across B.C., including 415 from out of province.

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