BC wildfires: Crews fight fire with fire to protect Williams Lake

BC wildfires: Crews fight fire with fire to protect Williams Lake

BC wildfires: Crews fight fire with fire to protect Williams Lake

Over 14,000 people remain out of their homes because of evacuation orders while thousands more in central and southern B.C. have been warned to be ready to leave on short notice.

There are more than 16,000 evacuees and more than 4,000 families registered with Red Cross.

"It looks like that has worked in most of these incidents in creating a fuel-free area", he said, adding that high wind speeds could still move embers beyond the controlled areas, spreading the fires.

An evacuation order was issued Saturday morning for the remote Clisbako area in the Cariboo region.

Areas of Williams Lake, and around Ashcroft are under evacuation alerts.

One of the biggest issues for officials is the wind as some areas could see gusts of more than 50 kilometres an hour on Saturday. 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.

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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A fire at Mount Marshall five km southeast of Burton is being held by an initial attack crew.

Anxiety is rising in Williams Lake as a number of fires burn around the city. Crews have contained about 60 per cent of the fire but fear it could jump the Fraser River and threaten homes if winds pick up.

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

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

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced the entire Cariboo fire centre, 103,000 square kilometres in size, has been closed to backcountry users as a safety precaution, allowing crews to focus on firefighting.

Businesses across the central interior say they are being heavily impacted by a lack of tourism and spending.

This wind could cause significant growth of current wildfires as well of new fires to catch and spread aggressively.

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