B.C. wildfires prompt highway closure, evacuations
Separate wildfires have prompted new evacuation orders and a highway closure in several areas of British Columbia.
B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch said 165 new fires were reported Wednesday, the most ever in a single day in the province. The majority of the fires are being blamed on the recent hot weather -- this is one of the driest summers on record in B.C.
A slew of lightning strikes near Kelowna Wednesday night only added to the problem.
More than 125 people were forced from properties around Bonaparte Lake, north of Kamloops in the southern Interior, when an evacuation issue was ordered Wednesday. That order was downgraded to an alert for homes on the western portion of the lake Thursday afternoon.
Airtankers spent the morning dropping water and fire retardant to slow the fire's growth on the east flank of the waterfront. Officials say the fire grew north and south overnight, away from homes. It is currently 100 per cent uncontained.
Strong winds are forecast in the region this evening.
In a separate fire, about 20 residents of the Riske Creek military base were ordered out of their homes east of Williams Lake, about 500 kilometres north of Vancouver.
Meanwhile, a wildfire burning just south of the B.C.-Yukon border has closed the region's main highway.
The aggressive 685 hectare blaze crossed Highway 37 near the Alaska Highway sometime Wednesday, prompting crews to be pulled off the fire as a safety precaution.
That lightning-sparked blaze broke out on Tuesday and now covers one square kilometre.