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BC Wildfires: New evacuation orders issued for Williams Lake

17 July 2017, 02:02 | Taylor George

BC Wildfires: New evacuation orders issued for Williams Lake

Fire crews equipped with planes and helicopters in the US state of California were making

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

BC Wildfire Service said Saturday there are about 161 active wildfires in the province, 14 of which pose a direct threat to communities.

Raging wildfires in British Columbia have displaced more than 17,000 people, while the provincial government says another 27,000 people have been told they may have to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

The province declared a state of emergency last week and more than 16,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders, with thousands more on alert.

"Every day that we have a reprieve, the firefighters are out there putting back-burns in, so everyday that we have without another storm is going to make it that much better for us because they'll have some protection in place", he said in a telephone interview.

"Residents in these areas who are unable to self-evacuate must make their way to a muster point in the city immediately as buses departing the city can not wait indefinitely".

An emergency centre for evacuees has opened up at Kelowna's Salvation Army church.

A few small fires reported near Kimberley earlier this week are now out, Shaughnessy said.

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

"In Prince George they are far better prepared to accept you than they are now in Kamloops", said Richmond. Volunteers can contact 250-938-2211 for more information.

The Emergency Operations Centre has been activated to support Lake Country fire crews fighting a spreading grass fire in Okanagan Centre.

The fire escalated quickly, fanned by strong winds and it moved uphill fast, said Steve Windsor, Lake Country's fire chief.

Fire crews are battling three fires around Williams Lake, while up against increasing winds - some reaching up to 70 kilometres per hour - as well as hot and dry temperatures. "Residents in these areas who are unable to self-evacuate must make their way to a muster point in the City immediately as buses departing the City can not wait indefinitely", a news release said Saturday evening.

Here is a look at some of the latest evacuation orders that have come in since Saturday.

Winds should complicate the work of firefighters.



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