Wind gusts of up to 70 km/hour expected in some wildfire zones

Wind gusts of up to 70 km/hour expected in some wildfire zones

Wind gusts of up to 70 km/hour expected in some wildfire zones

Unit crews began lighting controlled fires west of Williams Lake on Thursday, where almost 11,000 people have been on standby since Monday to evacuate at a moment's notice.

The B.C. Wildfire Service reported 124 wildfires burning in the province on Saturday morning.

Everyone is hoping the weather co-operates Saturday after progress was made on some of the 167 wildfires burning across the province.

Crews have been preparing by conducting controlled burns all across B.C.'s central interior, desperately trying to get rid of anything that could fuel the flames.

"When it is this hot and dry and of course with these winds in the forecast, it just makes things all the more volatile in terms of even the use of off-road vehicles, the heat off the exhaust pipe or debris coming off that vehicle could be enough to start a fire".

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said crews were ensuring routes are clear and buses are ready if the rest of the city's 11,000 residents are suddenly forced to leave. On Saturday morning, an evacuation order was issued for the Clisbako area, southwest of Prince George.

"Given the proximity of existing wildfires to communities, infrastructure and transportation corridors, people throughout the Cariboo region and the southern Interior should be prepared for potential evacuations", the government states.

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"The public can expect to see more smoky skies as the wind prevails from the west", said Shaughnessy.

The BC Wildfire Service said the three major fires around the city are now 40 to 60 per cent contained. The Loon Lake evacuation order affects 350 homes.

"Unfortunately, significant rain continues to elude the southern half of the province for the foreseeable future", Environment Canada says.

Skrepnek says possible strong winds is one reason to stay out of the back country.

The Gustafsen North wildfire near 100 Mile House is 5,000 hectares and 20 percent contained.

The Cariboo Fire Centre is restricting access to four lakes in the region to assist with local firefighting efforts.

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