Entire communities ready to leave on short notice as B.C. wildfires rage

Entire communities ready to leave on short notice as B.C. wildfires rage
File photo.

All but small corners of British Columbia are now ranked at a high to extreme risk of wildfires as continuing hot, dry and windy conditions fuel the more than 300 blazes raging in most regions of the province.

Evacuation orders affecting more than 1,400 properties are posted for 10 of the 26 fires currently listed by the B.C. Wildfire service as potentially threatening or highly visible.

Most of the orders cover huge areas of the central Interior but residents of 41 properties in the Okanagan, west of Peachland, were ordered out before dawn as the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says a new fire threatens safety.

The wildfire service website shows the roughly 80-hectare wildfire is one of at least 19 sparked overnight, adding to fires elsewhere in the province that have closed Highways 97 and 20, key transportation routes through the Cariboo.

Those fires have also prompted an evacuation alert for the entire community of 100 Mile House, menaced by an 87-square kilometre blaze that broke out last week, while alerts also cover the villages of Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Savona as a nearly eight-square kilometre fire reported Monday remains uncontrolled.

More than 1,760 square kilometres of land has burned in B.C. since the wildfire season began on April 1, and Environment Canada shows no end in sight for drought-like conditions, although forecasters say the central Cariboo could see a trace of rain by the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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