City of 10,000 ordered to evacuate as B.C. wildfires burn
Sunday, July 16, 2017, 7:11 PM - Continued dry and windy conditions in British Columbia are worsening the province's ongoing wildfire crisis, with several new evacuation orders issued through the weekend.
An evacuation order was issued for all of Williams Lake, a town of 10,000 people, at 6 p.m. PDT Saturday, though provincial officials told CBC the order had affected around 24,000 people in total. Officials say around 60 per cent of people had already left before the order was given.
By Sunday, most of the evacuees had made to safety in Kelowna after a journey of several hours.
No deaths or injuries have been reported, and the B.C. government says some 2,900 firefighters are battling the flames province-wide, including hundreds from out of province.
WATCH BELOW: On-the-ground update from Krissy Vann
Williams Lake wildfire, taken hours after the lightning strikes that ignited the fire. Image courtesy of Stephane Livolsi.
As of Sunday morning, there were 122 wildfires in the province that measure larger than 0.01 hectares, according to B.C. Wildfire Service's website. Though this figure has dropped in recent days, windy conditions throughout the weekend have worsened current wildfires, including Williams lake.
With the new evacuees from Williams Lake, some 36,000 people have now been forced to flee their homes.
En route from Regina, Saskatchewan to Kelowna, B.C. "We came across this fire so big that the smoke made the Rockies look small," Crystal Dawn, who captured the above photo, told The Weather Network.
Campfires have been banned in the entire province, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the so-called 'fog zone' along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Seventy provincial parks are currently closed through the interior.
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With high pressure dominating much of the western third of the continent, dry, hot conditions are expected to persist across the region for the near future, making battling the blazes all the more difficult.
Check back for updates on this developing story.