Fires rage through B.C. Interior

By Doug Collins
July 8, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: July 8, 2017 - 7:11pm

KAMLOOPS — For the latest update, click here

 

It will be a busy day for firefighters on the fire lines of a large number of fires in the B.C. Interior.

Smoky skies are making it tough to pinpoint the exact size of many of the blazes.

A state of emergency has been declared for much of the province in order for authorities to access properties quickly and make quick judgment calls on deploying resources. 

WATCH: Wildfire Watch — CFJC Breaking News (Aired 11pm, July 7th)

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta, also the head of the TNRD, had to issue several evacuation orders and alerts, as he watched fire creek up on his community, and destroy several buildings.

 That fire, which started Thursday on the Ashcroft Reserve, flared out of control yesterday, forcing the entire Village of Cache Creek to be evacuated, and Ashcroft put on evacuation alert.

By last night, the fire had consumed more than 7,000 hectares and was burning through grass near the Trans Canada on the hills above the community. 

There apparently has been considerable damage to the Cache Creek airport, according to photos on social media.

Fire broke out last night in the Little Fort area, forcing the evacuation of that community, and an evacuation order has been issued for parts of TNRD Area "O". A number of residences in the Windpass Road area, and the Dunn Lake Road, have been ordered evacuated. 

Wildfire B.C. has not issued any updates so far this morning, but expect to have a complete update shortly. 

Highways are largely closed heading to the coast this morning, except for the Coquihalla Highway. 

The highway between Kamloops and Cache Creek has been shut down because of the fire, and it's also closed between Cache Creek and Ashcroft.

A good chunk of Highway 97 in the Cariboo is closed from Cache Creek north because of fires in 100 Mile, Williams Lake and several other points. 

Hospitals are closed in both Cache Creek and 100 Mile because of the fires there. 

In addition, Highway 5A, between the Okanagan Connector and Princeton is shut down because of fire near Princeton. Several properties have been evacuated. 

People are coming forward to help out. The B.C. Livestock in Kamloops has made pens available to put livestock, and Mike Labourdais of the Whispering Pines Band says they have land available too. Other people are coming forward to offer temporary shelter for those who need it. No Limits Fitness has opened up their North Shore facilities for free to anyone who wants a shower, to destress, and unwind. The TNRD Emergency Operations Centre has a list of places where animals can be taken for refuge.

Emergency Operations Centres have been set up at the McArthur Island Sports Centre for those coming from Cache Creek, while those up the North Thompson are being asked to go to the Sportsplex in Clearwater. 

All available Wildfire resources are being channelled into fighting the blazes today.

Ground crews are being reinforced, and air tankers, helicopters and skimmers are being prioritized as to where they can do the most good.

The good news is that the winds have died down, which should help in firefighting efforts, although with temperatures forecast in the mid-thirties, it will still be tough sledding for crews. 

Air quality is still good in Kamloops despite the smoke.

It's sitting at "2" or low risk this morning, but will rise to "4" or moderate by this afternoon.

So those with health issues should consider staying indoors where possible. The smoke in the sky is impacting competition at the Special Olympics. Competition is still on this morning, but officials say it may get to the point later in the day when athletes may not be able to compete. 

 

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