British Columbia

Evacuation order lifted for 264 households near Williams Lake, B.C.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for sections of the central Cariboo near Williams Lake, including for the entire Soda Creek Indian Band.

B.C. Wildfire Service says province has seen 904 fires since April 1

Over 250 household in the Central Cariboo are heading home after evacuation orders were lifted in certain areas. (Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre)

Over 600 people are heading home after evacuation orders were lifted for sections of the Central Cariboo near Williams Lake, B.C.

According to the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre, 264 households are impacted, including about 70 on the Soda Creek Indian Reserve. 

The revised orders are north and south of Mountain House Road #3, Soda Creek Road/Frizzi Road Area #3, and south of Frizzi Road to Highway 20.

The properties remain on evacuation alert, meaning they are on standby to evacuate should the wildfires in the area worsen.

On Monday evening, the Cariboo Regional District issued a new evacuation order for an area north of Highway 20 around the Satah Mountain and P-Road area, along with a new evacuation alert for the Chantslar Forest Service Road area — though neither region has a significant number of residents.  

904 fires since April 1

Wildfires are continuing to tear through B.C. one month after the provincial government declared a state of emergency.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says the province has seen 904 fires since April 1 and most of the major blazes wreaking havoc are ones that prompted the state of emergency declaration July 7.

That includes the massive 1,100-square-kilometre Elephant Hill fire near Ashcroft, B.C., that is believed to be human caused and remains under investigation.

Skrepnek says regardless of the cause, the duration of the disaster is weather-dependent and without rain, crews are doing their best to contain and direct the fire away from communities.

Lands destroyed by a secondary fire that was accidentally ignited by crews responding to the Elephant Hill blaze last week prompted ranchers in the region to demand compensation in a public letter.

Skrepnek says the BC Wildfire Service has been in touch with the ranchers and, although fighting fires remains the priority, there are a number of policies to ensure agricultural workers receive support for this type of natural disaster.

With files from The Canadian Press