Wildfire near Williams Lake, B.C., forces airport evacuation
'Fires are being reported faster than they can be written down,' say officials
A series of lightning strikes in B.C.'s Cariboo region has sparked a number of new fires, including one near the region's largest airport, forcing its evacuation.
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The Williams Lake Fire Department is urging residents to avoid the Williams Lake airport because a fire more than one hectare in size has caused smoke to surround the area.
The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre has issued a warning, saying "fires are reported faster than they can written down — all over the Cariboo."
'Mercy of Mother Nature'
"Quite frankly, it's very dry, very volatile, and we are basically, at this point, at the mercy of Mother Nature," said said Al Richmond, chairman of the regional district.
"We've got too many fires and the fire centre is going to have difficulty keeping up with these. We've contacted the ministry to see if there are more resources available."
It comes as there are two rapidly-growing fires threatening major urban areas in B.C.'s Central Interior.
Near 100 Mile House, there is a 1,500-hectare blaze that has forced the evacuation of at least 3,600 people.
And near Ashcroft, a blaze grew from 50 to 700 hectares in just a few hours Friday afternoon, engulfing several structures.
"The situation is quite volatile with the winds changing constantly and the unpredictability of this fire," said Richmond.
Wind and lightning
CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said a big trough of low pressure is swinging across the province, bringing gusty winds and lightning.
"The problem is, we're getting a lot of lightning, and a lot of localized erratic strong winds, but not a lot or precipitation," Wagstaffe said.
High winds and thunderstorms are expected to persist in the region through the evening hours, before easing overnight.
"Fires are being reported faster than they can be written down-all over the Cariboo.." <a href="https://t.co/q5HyxbewOu">https://t.co/q5HyxbewOu</a> <a href="https://t.co/lVGvxjjx0O">pic.twitter.com/lVGvxjjx0O</a>—@JWagstaffe