British Columbia

Several new evacuation orders issued in Cariboo region

The Cariboo backcountry is being closed to the public and four new evacuation orders have been issued in the region due to wildfires.

Cariboo backcountry also closed, as the prospect of high wind over the weekend causes four new orders

Wildfires continue to burn in B.C.'s Cariboo region. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

With a weekend of high winds and scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, the Cariboo Regional District has issued a new round of evacuation orders and instituted a partial ban on backcountry activities.

Four new wildfire-related evacuations orders have been issued: one for areas on the northwest side of Quesnel Lake, one near the Maeford Lake area, one for a small area southwest of Quesnel, and one for a large area southwest of Prince George, spanning approximately from Titetown Provincial Park to Entiako Provincial Park.

In total, the evacuations affect about 65 households. 

Those in the affected area around Quesnel Lake are being evacuated immediately by members of the RCMP and other groups "due to immediate danger," according to the Cariboo Regional District. It says the evacuation route is either by water or by Spanish Lake Road.

For those in the affected Maeford Lake area, the evacuation route is west to Likely on the Cariboo River FSR (8400 Road) or north to Barkerville on the Mathew Valley Road (8400 Road).

Those in the area southwest of Quesnel will be evacuated from Lavington Road to Quesnel via Tibbles and Nazko roads.

Those evacuated from north of Anahim Lake will be evacuated to Williams Lake via Dean River Road and Highway 20 , while those evacuated from the Titetown Area will go to either Quesnel or Prince George via Batnuni and Blackwaters roads. 

The orders come despite the high chance of rain over the weekend.

"There is some rain in the forecast, mainly for the coast. But in the Interior we're expecting a considerable increase in winds, possible lightning and any showers we see tomorrow in the Interior will be quite isolated and quite scattered," said Kevin Skrepnek with the B.C. Wildfire Service. 

Cariboo backcountry closed

Further to the new evacuation orders, all Crown Land in the Cariboo region will be closed for public access.

"The order has been drafted up for Sept. 5 of this year. It'll certainly be lifted earlier if conditions allow, but that totally depends on what we see in fire activity," said Skrepnek.

The ban started Friday and covers 103,000 square kilometres of Crown lands within the Cariboo region in south central B.C.

​The restriction means people cannot stay in or enter the area without prior written authorization. It will remain in place until Sept. 5 but can be lifted earlier if conditions improve.

Commercial operations, people travelling on an official capacity or to their primary residence, travellers using highways and those helping in the firefighting effort are exempt from the backcountry restriction.

Exemptions are also in place for the historic town and park of Barkerville, adventure tourism operations and guide outfitters that depend on access to the landscape for business.

With files from The Canadian Press