Wildfire burning in Lake Country

Canada fires drive thousands more out of their homes

The fire reportedly broke out at about 4:30 p.m.

Hall spoke at a town hall meeting Saturday night at UNBC and had hoped to have Mark Hamm, deputy fire centre manager for the Cariboo Fire Centre on hand to provide an update of the fire situation but Hamm was in Williams Lake helping his family evacuate.

A number of B.C. wildfires were fueled by heavy winds Saturday, leading to a number of new evacuation orders. It's forced many of his neighbours to abandon their homes.

"My thoughts are with families in Williams Lake and other communities issued evacuation orders today, and with the countless volunteers, emergency response workers and firefighters who have been tirelessly working to support and protect families and communities".

There are 161 active wildfires burning in BC, 14 of which pose a direct threat to communities.

An evacuation order was also issued for Big Creek.

Flames shoot out of a home in B.C.'s Lake Country on July 15, 2017.

"We're still doing a lot of structural protection".

University Hospital of Northern B.C. spokesperson Steve Raper said the city's hospital has opened additional spaces to be able to accept any additional hospitalized patients from the Williams Lake evacuation. "(There is) very steep topography here and the fire is actually burning below a number of them".

Officials are asking people to avoid Okanagan Centre Road West, Tyndall Road, Camp Road and the Long Road area while crews work on the fire.

"Discarded cigarettes, abandoned campfires, irresponsible use of off-road vehicles" are the main causes of human-caused fires, Skrepnek said.

The largest is the Ashcroft Reserve fire, which saw "major growth" over the weekend and was estimated at 42,300 hectares on Sunday - "but we certainly have some clusters of fires in the Chilcotin that could potentially join into one and be around that size, as well", Mr. Skrepnek said.

"The difference this time is the geographic scope and that we're seeing multiple communities throughout (the province), and that it's earlier in the fire season so the possible duration of this is different", he said.

Despite cooling temperatures, crews expect strong winds to continue to hamper firefighting efforts in the coming days.

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