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BC wildfire crews prepare for windy weekend

16 July 2017

Williams Lake is one of four iin the Cariboo closed to the public.

With 167 fires burning across B.C. Friday afternoon, fire crews are looking to prepare for winds across the central and southern Interior this weekend.

Skrepnek said more burns were planned for fires around Williams Lake, 150 Mile House and Ashcroft.

Wildfire officials are warning residents to be prepared to evacuate at any given notice. Fire suppression this season has cost the province $77 million and the bill for supporting evacuees has yet to be tallied.

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There are still thousands of people who have been forced from their homes, and Robert Turner with Emergency Management BC says that number is now inching closer to 17,000. On Saturday morning, an evacuation order was issued for the Clisbako area, southwest of Prince George.

Many businesses in Williams Lake have already shut down due to a lack of customers. Officials have not said how many people are affected.

"Unfortunately, significant rain continues to elude the southern half of the province for the foreseeable future", Environment Canada says.

Officials said more than 80 per cent of the 6,150 households registered with the Red Cross will have received funds from the province by the end of Saturday.

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Some staff has already apparently made a decision to leave the region, not waiting on the official evacuation alert to be upgraded to an official order.

An older fire at Woden Creek is 100 per cent contained and crews are patrolling for flare-ups. IfdsZt is coming from the larger fires in the Kamloops and Cariboo regions.

Fourteen of them are interface fires, which means communities are in potential danger.

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced the entire Cariboo fire centre, 103,000 square kilometres in size, has been closed to backcountry users as a safety precaution, allowing crews to focus on firefighting.

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As of Saturday, the fire chiefs for the District of North Vancouver, City of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver banned the use of barbecues at all parks and beaches.

BC wildfire crews prepare for windy weekend