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article imageB.C. Wildfires: New evacuation orders issued for Williams Lake

By Karen Graham     Jul 15, 2017 in World
The number of evacuees in British Columbia is expected to rise considerably above the 17,500 people who have already been forced from their homes as wildfires, fed by gusting winds, continue to roar across the province's interior.
Continued dry and windy conditions in British Columbia are worsening the ongoing wildfire crisis, while new evacuation orders were posted this evening for the town of Williams Lake. All residents have been to ordered to evacuate immediately, using Highway 97 South, according to The Weather Network at 9:00 p.m. PST on July 15, 2017.
The evacuation order also includes: Areas east of the Frasier River from the existing evacuation order at Soda Creek to 9.0 km (5.5 miles) south of the Sheep Creek Bridge, including English Road.
Directly east to the southern end of Chimney Lake, continuing east to Wright Station Road at the north end of Lac La Hache.
All areas west of Highway 97 from Wright Station Road to the Williams Lake City limits, north along Highway 97, including all fringe areas of the City of Williams Lake including the areas of Fox Mountain, Pine Valley, Commodore Crescent, Glendale, Wildwood, Bull Mountain and Deep Creek not already evacuated, to the exiting evacuation order area at Soda Creek.
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"Residents in these areas who are unable to self-evacuate must make their way to a muster point in the City immediately as buses departing the City cannot wait indefinitely," a news release said Saturday evening. "If residents are unable to get to a muster point, please call the RCMP at 250-392-6211 immediately."
Weather is not helping the fire situation this weekend
According to the latest forecast, the high-pressure system that has kept conditions hot and dry across the province is being pushed out by a cold front. And while the temperature drop will be welcome, the accompanying winds will not be helpful. Much of the southern interior will experience widespread winds between 20 and 50 kilometers per hour (20 to 40 mph) through the weekend.
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"The strong winds will push into the Kootenays by early Sunday morning," Environment Canada's special weather statement reads. "Local winds gusts up to 70 km/h are possible through some Interior valleys and canyons."
"Given these winds, we are expecting the very real possibility of extreme and violently aggressive fire behavior out there," Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.'s chief fire information officer, said Saturday, reports CBC News Canada.
Skrepnek also noted that BC's coastal communities are not exempt from following fire prevention measures right now because the fire danger ratings of "high" to "extreme" cover larger swaths of the region.
More about Wildfires, British columbia, Cariboo region, southern interior, strong winds
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