Wild­fires force thou­sands to leave homes in cen­tral B.C.

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. — Build­ings have been lost and peo­ple were told to leave their homes as two fast­grow­ing wild­fires threat­ened com­mu­ni­ties Fri­day across cen­tral Bri­tish Columbia.

Jus­tine Hunse of the BC Wild­fire Ser­vice said a blaze was burn­ing across a seven-square-kilo­me­tre area out­side Ashcroft, about 100 kilo­me­tres west of Kam­loops.

“We have per­formed a tac­ti­cal evac­u­a­tion in the area, which means that fire­fight­ers have gone door-to-door to evac­u­ate folks at very short no­tice,” she said.

The fire was partly within the bound­aries of the Ashcroft In­dian Re­serve and struc­tures have been “im­pacted,” Hunse said.

She could not con­firm the ex­tent of the dam­age.

Hunse said re­cent weather has been per­sis­tently hot and dry, push­ing the risk of fire to ex­treme.

“We’ve re­ally seen the fire dan­ger rat­ing spike over the last week or so,” she said.

Ashcroft res­i­dent Ian Dou­glas said he stood with a cou­ple above the re­serve and saw the flames de­stroy their home.

“A lady I know came up … and just as she was get­ting there, she and her hus­band watched their house burn,” he told ra­dio sta­tion CHNL. “You could just see it go.”

Dou­glas said he be­lieves five of the 25 build­ings on the re­serve were de­stroyed.

John Ranta, Cache Creek’s mayor and the head of the Thomp­son-Ni­cola Re­gional District, said a state of emer­gency was de­clared in the Ashcroft and Cache Creek area be­cause of the fire.

At least 75 peo­ple were af­fected by an evac­u­a­tion near Cache Creek, he said, adding that he heard up to five build­ings were de­stroyed in the Ashcroft area.

The fire forced High­way 1 to shut in both di­rec­tions be­tween Ashcroft and Cache Creek, while High­way 97C run­ning through Ashcroft was also closed, said Drive BC.

A sep­a­rate fire burn­ing about 200 kilo­me­tres north­west of Kam­loops forced as many as 3,600 peo­ple out of their homes.

Al Rich­mond, chair of the Cari­boo Re­gional District, said an evac­u­a­tion or­der that was ex­panded Fri­day ap­plied to about 2,100 prop­er­ties around 105 Mile House, 108 Mile House and the west shore of Lac La Hache.

About 600 other prop­er­ties re­mained un­der evac­u­a­tion alert, he added.

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