Evacuees return home as wildfires across West calm down

Fire crews equipped with planes and helicopters in the US state of California were making

Williams Lake Coun. Jason Ryll said his truck was already packed and ready to go when the alert was issued late Saturday.

He's not leaving, and you can't make him. The provincial authorities are on alert and may order new evacuations on the weekend.

Fire Information Officer Mike McCulley isn't able to confirm whether the fire has crossed Loon Lake, but says that the way the winds are moving, combined with dry fuel and increased fire behaviour are helping to push the fire north. The evacuation order also includes: Areas east of the Frasier River from the existing evacuation order at Soda Creek to 9.0 km (5.5 miles) south of the Sheep Creek Bridge, including English Road.

Lucy Lorenzetto, who fled her home in Williams Lake overnight, stood outside clutching a blue blanket, a plastic bag full of toiletries and a paper cup full of coffee.

"My thoughts are with families in Williams Lake and other communities issued evacuation orders today, and with the countless volunteers, emergency response workers and firefighters who have been tirelessly working to support and protect families and communities".

The last time B.C. declared a state of emergency was in 2003 when more than 50,000 people had to be evacuated from Kelowna and the surround area. "Winds have been a huge factor in terms of fire activity so far over the last few weeks, so that's definitely a cause for concern".

The fire escalated quickly, fanned by strong winds and it moved uphill fast, said Steve Windsor, Lake Country's fire chief. "If residents are unable to get to a muster point, please call the RCMP at 250-392-6211 immediately". An alert was issued for an area southwest of Prince George as well.

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Richmond said the resources in Kamloops may be "stretched".

Central Okanagan firefighters were thrust into action Saturday afternoon, when a fire broke out north of Carrs Landing in Lake Country.

The province isn't likely to get a reprieve from the wildfires ravaging the B.C. interior any time soon, according to the BC Wildfire Service. Numerous same people had been forced to flee this spring from the possibility of major flooding from a damaged dam spillway.

Regional district offices in Quesnel were slated to open Friday to provide permits allowing workers to travel on closed roads to reach the open pit copper-molybdenum mine operated by Taseko Mines Ltd.

The province has reminded evacuees to register with the Canadian Red Cross and, if they need lodging or food, to register at emergency social services reception centres as well.

It's a significant temporary boost to the city's population of about 80,000.

Other evacuees have found refuge with friends and family and people who have opened their homes to them.

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