More than 1,500 properties in B.C.’s Cariboo region are under a new evacuation order issued Wednesday due to wildfires in the area.
The Cariboo Regional District issued the order for 1,074 properties in the area from Flat Lake to Green Lake, south of 100 Mile House. Another order covers 482 properties from Canim Lake to Mahood Lake to the east.
“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.
People living on a further 3,086 properties in the Horse Lake area are now under an evacuation alert. They are asked to be prepared to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
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, two dozen of which are highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.
Evacuations, highway closures continue
The fires continue to force highway closures and evacuations.
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.
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.
Another evacuation order was issued west of Fort St. James in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District on Tuesday night 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.
Air quality statements 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 the 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.
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 in 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.