Residents of Williams Lake, BC have been told to leave their homes because of a wildfire burning near the community that is being fanned by high winds.
An evacuation order was given Saturday night for the city and surrounding areas including the village of 150 Mike House.
Officials previously said forecast lightning and wind gusts of up to 70 km/h starting Saturday and developing into Sunday could cause a substantial increase in wildfire activity in British Columbia’s central and southern Interior.
There are 161 active wildfires burning in BC, 14 of which pose a direct threat to communities. Those fires have already displaced 17,000 people with another 27,000 people being told they may have to leave their homes with very little notice.
Many of Williams Lake’s 11,000 residents had left voluntarily in recent days, however the order means thousands more will be headed to safety in Kamloops and other cities.
Premier-designate John Horgan released a statement late Saturday regarding the latest evacuations.
“My thoughts are with families in Williams Lake and other communities issued evacuation orders today, and with the countless volunteers, emergency response workers and firefighters who have been tirelessly working to support and protect families and communities.”
Horgan also reiterated a pledge of government support.
“Our government will be ready to provide whatever support is needed in these difficult times,” he said. “We are working closely with the outgoing government and our federal partners to deliver the support and services that are needed.”