The Cariboo Regional District issued the order Wednesday for 1,074 properties in the Flat Lake area in Green Lake, south of 100 Mile House. Another order is for 482 properties east, from Canim Lake to Mahood Lake. “Due to the immediate danger to the safety of people from a fire, members of the RCMP or other groups will accelerate this action,” the district said.
The entire community of 100 Mile House and residents of the neighboring Horse Lake area are now on evacuation alert. There are approximately 2,000 people living within 100 Mile, while the Horse Lake newsletter covers 3,086 properties.
Residents of these areas are requested to be prepared to leave their homes at all times.
Seven forest fires were burning in the Cariboo area on Wednesday. The larger ones burn around Flat Lake and Canim Lake.
To the north, another evacuation order remains in effect near Fort St. James due to a forest fire near Camsell Lake. It includes the Yekooche First Nation reserves as well as parts of Rubyrock Lake Provincial Park and Sutherland River Park.
The BC Wildfire Service said much of the central part of the province is at extreme risk of wildfires, with more than 300 fires in British Columbia. Two dozen fires across the province are highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.
Helicopter to assist with evacuations
Major highways remain closed in the province on Wednesday, including Highway 97 north of 70 Mile House as well as Highway 20 in the Lake Anahim area. The latter is the only road crossing the Chilcotin region of British Columbia.
The blaze, known as the Big Stick Lake blaze, exploded onto Highway 20 on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Ulkatcho First Nation. With the road closed, a military helicopter was dispatched to Anahim Lake Airport to help evacuees out of the area.
Okanagan alerts remain in place
Meanwhile, south of the Okanagan, evacuation orders issued Tuesday night for the Kamloops area are still in effect. Orders cover more than 180 properties in the city, including areas near Savona and Copper Creek.
Nearly 200 properties in the Barnes Lake area east of Kamloops are on alert Wednesday.
The responsible blaze, known as the Sparks Lake Fire, covers approximately 402 square kilometers. There were reports of buildings damaged or destroyed by the flames, but the Thompson-Nicola Regional District was unable to verify the damage.
North of Lytton, an order is in place for 17 properties in the Gladwin Mobile Home Park and the Jade Springs area, east of the village, due to the Lytton Creek Forest Fire.
Air quality declarations in force
Much of central and eastern British Columbia is the subject of a special weather report warning of smoky skies, as hundreds of wildfires rage uncontrollably across the province.
Environment Canada has issued the Special Air Quality Statement, warning of smoke for the next few days in areas extending from the interior north to the Yukon and east to the border of Alberta.
Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada, said residents of British Columbia should be prepared for the smoky skies to linger until fall.
“We’re going to see this for months,” he said in an interview. “There is smoke everywhere, from Alaska to Mexico. All we need … is for the wind to go in the wrong direction and bring it back from other places. “
Four areas of the province also remain under heat warning, including the Fraser Canyon, where the village of Lytton was destroyed by fire last month, with daytime peaks expected of up to 38C.
The province is asking residents to remain cautious and be responsible in preventing possible fires, after the Kamloops Forest Fire Department, RCMP and firefighters responded to five suspicious fires on Tuesday night. It is believed that all of them were caused by man.