British Columbia·Photos

Blanketed by wildfire smoke, morning skies were an eerie orange in Prince George, B.C.

Hours after the sun had risen on Friday morning, the street lights in Prince George, B.C., remained lit as thick smoke and ash smothered the city.

The sky remained dark orange well past 9 a.m. PT

Sunrise was at 5:55 a.m. PT in Prince George but the rising sun did little to lighten the city. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Hours after the sun had risen Friday morning, the street lights in Prince George, B.C., remained lit as thick smoke and ash smothered the city.

The sky over this part of central B.C. was still dark orange well past 9 a.m. PT.

Prince George, pictured at 9:10 a.m. PT on Aug. 17. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

CBC reporter Nicole Oud in Prince George described the darkness as the worst she's witnessed all summer and said the smoke and ash in the air are palpable the second anyone steps outside.

Evacuees line up outside an emergency reception centre as smoke from the Shovel Lake wildfire floats over the city. 0:32

The culprit is the province's biggest blaze, the Shovel Lake wildfire, which is burning west of Prince George between Burns Lake and Vanderhoof, sending smoke wafting in all directions.

The fairgrounds at the B.C. Northern Exhibition on Friday morning. (Submitted by Dana Evaschuk)

More than 150 firefighters and thousands of residents are on standby after the B.C. Wildfire Service issued an "extreme fire behaviour warning" on Thursday afternoon.

Street lights were still on in some parts of Prince George well after 10 a.m. PT. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Gusts of up to 40 km/h are in the forecast for Friday and officials said the nearby 79,000-hectare (790-square-kilometre) fire — almost seven times the size of the City of Vancouver — is in danger of being whipped up by strong winds.

The sky finally started to lighten by 10:30 a.m. PT but the air remained filled with smoke. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

With files from Nicole Oud, Rhianna Schmunk and Andrew Kurjata

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