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Wildfire risk is still running high in British Columbia, some evacuations ordered.

B.C. wildfire battle continues

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    Daniel Martins
    Digital Reporter

    Sunday, July 20, 2014, 12:06 PM - Firefighters continue their battle against the flames in British Columbia, and although there is some good news in the fight, thousands of people have had to flee their homes.

    A few days ago, most of B.C. had a fire risk of high or extreme, thanks to sweltering temperatures and very dry conditions.

    Now, rain and lower temperatures have been a boon for firefighters, and a 260-hectare fire burning near West Kelowna is now around 30 per cent contained. That'll be good news for 2,500 residents who were ordered to leave their homes, although it's not clear when they'll be allowed to return.

    But the weather has been a hindrance for firefighters battling another blaze north of Lytton, B.C. Although smaller, at around 150 hectares, firefighters say lower temperatures have helped, but high winds have offset some of that advantage.

    Still, the area of the province considered to be at high or extreme wildfire risk is much narrower, mostly concentrated in the southern interior.

    At the same time, although progress is being made against some fires, scattered evacuation orders or alerts are still in effect, and the fires burning in the north of the province are enormous, blackening tens of thousands of hectares of land.

    The smoke from all those fires prompted Environment Canada to issue air quality advisories for much of the B.C. interior.

    "Smoke concentrations in the aforementioned regions will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change," the agency says. "The change in weather will provide some relief from high smoke levels, however fires are still active and periods of smoke may still affect communities."

    Next door in Alberta, meanwhile, a fire burning near the B.C.-Alberta border in the Grand Prairie has scorched tens of thousands of acres in both provinces.

    It's also prompted an evacuation order for part of the Municipal District of Greenview No. 16, south of Grand Prairie. At the moment, it is the only wildfire-related evacuation alert in the province.

    With files from the Canadian Press.

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