Routes change after wildfire evacuation order issued for areas near Anahim Lake

More than 1,000 people ordered to leave their homes and head towards Williams Lake or Bella Coola, B.C.

More than 1,000 people ordered to leave their homes

Anahim Lake is the home of hockey star Carey Price. This photo shared on August 9 showed smoke from wildfires blanketing the remote community. (Cory Burton/Twitter)

More than 1,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes near Anahim Lake, B.C., due to "immediate danger" posed by wildfires, say regional officials.

The area is approximately 300 kilometres west of Williams Lake.

The Cariboo Regional District Evacuation order includes areas surrounding Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake, Charlotte Lake and all of Ulkatcho First Nation territory.

Evacuees are being told to take Highway 20 to Prince George if they haven't left already.

On Thursday, officials initially told residents to head for Williams Lake or Bella Coola, but changed those orders on Friday — Williams Lake isn't prepared to accommodate more people and there's fire danger on Highway 20 to Bella Coola.

Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District, said the order was issued partly because of transportation reasons.

"There's no imminent danger to those homes at the moment," Richmond said.

"The concern is that the fire is acting in such a manner that it can cut off access to the communities so they can't get out."

Region needs rain

In a previous evacuation order of an Indigenous community along Highway 20, tensions rose after some members wished to stay and fight the wildfires themselves.

"We know there are some that will feel they need to stay and defend their property and we will respect that ... we will note where those people are," said Richmond. 

Approximately 700 people live on the Ulkatcho First Nation reserve and another 360 live in the community of Anahim Lake.

Residents in the area have been on evacuation alert since August 4 due to the Precipice Creek wildfire located 52 kilometres east of Bella Coola.

It was last estimated to be just over 6,000 hectares in size and 20 per cent contained.

Scattered showers are forecasted for the area on Sunday, but Richmond indicated it likely wouldn't result in a quick removal of the evacuation order.

"We'd appreciate anything that mother nature would give us."