B.C. is only a few weeks into fire season but it’s already shaping up to be one of the most destructive years in the province’s history.Officials are predicting the summer will continue to be very hot and very dry.The wildfires have already forced close to 40,000 people to flee their homes and firefighters, first responders and support staff have been brought in from across Canada to help in the fight.There are 162 wildfires burning across B.C. this morning, burning up more than 131,000 hectares. Story continues below
So far, the province has spent $80 million to fight the fires this year, compared to $100 million all of last year.Thousands of people have been ordered out of Williams Lake and the surrounding areas as a windy Saturday blew a number of fires closer to the city.Officials said that while the flames haven’t reached Williams Lake, an evacuation order was issued because the fire threatened to cut exit routes.READ: B.C. wildfires coverage“Despite everything that people have been through, people at the centre and our crews are in good spirits,” said fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.“We’re managing our fatigue, making sure people are pacing and resting themselves. Realistically, we have weeks, if not months of this ahead of us.”MAP: Wildfires burning around B.C. right nowOn the outskirts of Williams Lake, crews continue to battle flames from reaching homes near Risky Creek.The massive fire has already burned up tens of thousands of hectares. Many people near the Anaham Reserve are staying put to protect their homes right now and are getting some help in the way of aerial support and equipment.Officials said numerous homes have been lost after a grass fire was sparked in Lake Country between Kelowna and Vernon. The fire is now 80 per cent contained.More than 300 homes had to be evacuated as the rapidly spreading flames quickly scorched 30 hectares of land. Approximately 650 homes remain on alert.READ MORE: B.C. wildfire status: List of latest evacuation ordersSmoke from the wildfires is reducing air quality across B.C.Officials have released alerts for many areas, including the Okanagan Valley and Williams Lake. Pollution in both those places poses a high risk for seniors, children and adults with health conditions.People are being told to avoid strenuous outdoor activity and contact a health-care provider if they experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, discomfort or a sudden cough.
Lake Country fire
Lake Country fire
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Evacuees of B.C. wildfires arrive in Kamloops
Lake Country residents flee wildfire, homes destroyed
Lake Country neighbourhood devastated by wildfire
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Evacuation centres in Kamloops continue to fill up due to the evacuees.People are spending hours registering at the main evacuation centre.Additional evacuation centres are opening in Vernon, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Surrey and Salmon Arm.
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