Delta sends help to battle BC wildfires

The remains of a graveyard after wildfire swept through the Ashcroft First Nation reserve in B.C.'s Interior

The remains of a graveyard after wildfire swept through the Ashcroft First Nation reserve in B.C.'s Interior

A Delta staff member and a Delta firefighter have been deployed to Williams Lake where they are assisting the Caribou Regional District Emergency Operations Centre, while six Delta police officers have been deployed to various locations around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

There are now 183 fires burning across the province of B.C., including 12 that have been sparked in the past 24 hours.

Fire crews were preparing for the windy weekend Friday with several controlled burns throughout the Williams Lake and Ashcroft areas, but hot and dry conditions have proved challenging.

July 14 B.C. Wildfire Map
Delta sends help to battle BC wildfires

None of the fires in the region are large enough to be causing the smoke that has moved into the area. An evacuation alert was issued Saturday for the Clisbako area.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, says improved smoke conditions over the last 24 hours have permitted a more accurate size assessment of the almost 200 wildfires burning in the province, many of them in the Cariboo fire centre.

Many businesses in Williams Lake have already shut down due to a lack of customers.

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Wildfire officials are warning residents to be prepared to evacuate at any given notice.

Some staff has already apparently chose to leave the region, not waiting on the official evacuation alert to be upgraded to an official order.

Richmond said he told a meeting of evacuees on Thursday night that efforts were underway to restore some normality in fire-weary communities.

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"Unfortunately, significant rain continues to elude the southern half of the province for the foreseeable future", Environment Canada says. The Gustafsen fire (5,000 hectares) and Little Fort fires are 20 per cent contained, and the Wildwood fire (2,500 hectares) is about 40 per cent contained.

Officials are also asking the public to stay off four lakes in the Cariboo region, specifically Williams Lake, Watson Lake, Lac La Hache and Horse Lake, so that firefighting aircraft have room to pick up water.

"That level of wind certainly has the prospect to really whip up fire behaviour", Skrepnek said.

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