Western Canada wildfires prompt evacuations of thousands in British Colombia

UPDATE: Homes evacuated as wildfire burns in Ashcroft

A province-wide state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia after dozens of new wildfires destroyed buildings and forced thousands of people from their homes.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District declared a state of local emergency because of the fire, which quickly grew over the course Friday.

"Given the weather forecast we're looking at, unfortunately we are expecting more of the same".

No properties were at risk of burning by Friday afternoon, but officials issued the order to leave because of concerns about changing wind patterns and heavy smoke cutting off access roads and evacuation routes, Richmond said.

Coastal Fire had previously suspected the fire had grown to 20 hectares in size, but this turned out to be not the case.

The fire is 50 hectares in size and Lucius says the hot weather isn't helping.

The wildfire broke out on the Ashcroft Reserve, between the Trans Canada Highway and Cornwall Road.

A tactical evacuation is in place.




"Some of them are pretty fragile, because some of them have seen their homes go up in flames and others aren't really sure what they're going to go back to", he said.

As a result of the fire, both Highway 1 and Highway 97C have been closed in both directions between Ashcroft and Cache Creek, which is a almost 10 kilometre stretch of road.

The blaze began within a few kilometres of two sawmills, both major employers for the region, according to Richmond. "I could feel the heat coming right through from the cab".

On Saturday, the two crews of 41 Florida Forest Service firefighters will fly to Salt Lake City, Utah alongside three additional crews from Puerto Rico and Georgia.

All the residents of Cache Creek and Ashcroft, villages located more than 100 kilometers from 100 Mile House, were also evacuated.

The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre said Friday that fires were being reported "faster than they [could] be written down - all over the Cariboo".

Representatives from Catholic Charities Community Services' northern locations said they were on standby to offer local support if needed and to particularly offer assistance to the Red Cross.

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