Officials say showers won't help BC wildfires, wind may fuel flames

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

Thousands of residents who were told to leave the central Interior city of Williams Lake headed south to Kamloops, which has already become a temporary home for thousands displaced by wildfires this year.

But there was no way to avoid it Saturday evening; the wind shifted and within a few hours he got the news he has been fearing all week.

"That was very much a proactive step because of some of the weather we are expecting tomorrow... we have fires now in many directions around Williams Lake", said Skrepnek. However windy conditions Saturday fuelled the flames and led to the Evacuation Order.

Hundreds of properties in Lake Country were put under evacuation order or alert last night, after a 30-hectare blaze destroyed several properties. The alert covers the entire District of Clearwater with the exception of the Canfor Vavenby mill site and the Yellowhead Mines property.

Like other First Nations that have defied evacuation recommendations, Mack said they had little choice but to protect their community and save homes.

Thousands of Williams Lake residents are being forced from their homes as high winds fan a wildfire burning next to the community.

Richmond said the resources in Kamloops may be "stretched".

Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor said the department is not releasing numbers just yet - "but at this point, we're saying 'numerous, ' and it is quite numerous".

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The province isn't likely to get a reprieve from the wildfires ravaging the B.C. interior any time soon, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

"I am so proud of my community", Mack had said Friday afternoon.

"It's very stressful, we need them to evacuate, we need them to be safe", he said.

Robert Turner of Emergency Management B.C. said about 9,430 of the estimated 16,250 evacuees had registered with the Canadian Red Cross.

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.

Earlier, many other Xatsull community members - including children and elders - were evacuated.

ESS volunteers are available to help register residents now at the existing reception centre at the Kelowna Salvation Army Church, 1480 Sutherland Avenue at Burtch Road and Sutherland Avenue.

Meanwhile, a wildfire near the boundary between B.C. and Alberta has prompted Parks Canada to close trails and evacuate hikers and campers in Kootenay and Banff national parks.

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