Williams Lake under evacuation order

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An evacuation order for the entire population of Williams Lake, BC — some 11,000 people — was issued Saturday as high winds fanned a nearby wildfire.

Many of the residents left last week, but now thousands more are headed to safety in Kamloops, Prince George and other cities.

Evacuation orders were also issued for numerous surrounding areas while others were placed on evacuation alert.

It’s unclear whether crews on the firelines will get much help from the weather today — the forecast calls for continuing blustery conditions, with possible showers, the risk of thunderstorms and slightly cooler temperatures.

The BC Wildfire Service says at least 160 wildfires are burning in the province, 14 of which pose a direct threat to communities.

The evacuation numbers are constantly changing, but it was reported yesterday that the fires had displaced more than 17,000 people, while another 27,000 were on evacuation alert.

Evacuees are urged to register with the Red Cross and, if they need lodging or food, to register at emergency social services reception centres as well.

Last night MP Todd Doherty told evacuees already in Prince George to pressure others still in Williams Lake to get to safety.

The province, meantime, says more volunteers are needed in Kamloops to help the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team, as well as a 24-hour animal shelter.