Wildfire forcing thousands to evacuate central BC regions

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Wildfire in BC flared up on Sunday night near 100 Mile House area, forcing thousands of people to evacuate the region. 10,000 evacuees and counting.

You can have as many firefighters as you want and the best technology possible, but on a dry day, there are three simple words that can dramatically change any wildfire situation for the worse.

For most of Saturday and Sunday, there were plenty of new alerts and small tactical evacuations, but large-scale evacuations weren’t necessary. The wildfires were burning away from urban centres.

  • Aggressive wildfires have burned more than 236 square kilometres of B.C. so far this year. Here, a wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek on July 10. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
  • Aggressive wildfires have burned more than 236 square kilometres of BC so far this year. Here, a wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek on July 10.
  • Randy Thorne, left, his wife Angie Thorne, second left, their daughter Kelsey Thorne, and granddaughter Nevaeh Porter, 8, view the remains of their home that was destroyed by wildfire on the Ashcroft First Nation, late Sunday.
  • Nevaeh Porter, 8, views the remains of her home where she lived with her mom and grandparents that was destroyed by wildfire on the Ashcroft First Nation.
  • B.C. Hydro workers repair power lines among the remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire in Boston Flats near Ashcroft. Of the more than 550 fires the province has seen since April, nearly half were ignited in the last two weeks.
  • This house survived a wildfire on the side of a mountain in Boston Flats.
  • Pets belonging to wildfire evacuees are cared for by volunteers outside a curling club being used as an evacuation centre in 100 Mile House on July 8.
  • A wildfire flares up Sunday night near 100 Mile House, forcing thousands to evacuate the region. A couple watch the forest burning in the distance from Highway 97 north of the community.
  • A helicopter drops water on a wildfire burning on a mountain in Ashcroft on July 9. The federal government has announced it will help B.C. battle more than 200 wildfires sweeping across the province.
  • A boat travels on Lac des Roches as smoke from wildfires hangs in the air near Bridge Lake on July 8. Thick smoke has blanketed much of the region, and it could be weeks before tallies are made and families are informed if they have a home to return to.
  • A wildfire burns on a mountain behind an RV park office in Cache Creek in the early morning of July 8. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District in the B.C. Interior declared a local state of emergency, forcing the evacuation of approximately 1,000 Cache Creek residents from their homes.
  • A wildfire burns on a mountain near Ashcroft on July 7. The fire began northwest of the community and spread north.
  • A series of lightning strikes in the Cariboo region sparked several new fires, including one near the region’s largest airport, forcing its evacuation on July 7.
  • A driver passing through the Ashcroft area tweeted this photo showing heavy smoke billowing from the wildfire on July 7.

Sunday afternoon, the wind changed and, hours later, the entire town of 100 Mile House was placed under an evacuation order, with flames less than a kilometre away, and pushing the total number of people under evacuation orders in B.C. to over 10,000.

“I didn’t worry at all, until somebody said the wind was picking up,” said resident Tatiana Ruiz.

“We were at home watching movies, and all of a sudden, they’re knocking on the door. We packed up our stuff in two, three minutes.”

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