Residents on eight ranches, south of Prince George, are the latest in a growing number of evacuees forced to scramble to safer ground due to forest fires in British Columbia.

The people fled Friday night as three fires near Pelican Lake grew in size, fanned by hot and dry weather expected to remain well into next week across much of the province.

Air tankers, helicopters and heavy machinery are supporting ground crews, with the largest of those fires stretching 25 square kilometres.

Upwards of 1,000 firefighters are out on the front lines across B.C. this weekend, battling many hundreds of wildfires in conditions that could still spark more.

As of Saturday 318 forest fires were currently burning, while residents were under evacuation order or alert in six areas in the Kamloops-area and the Cariboo region.

"We have lots of priority fires but ones that are affecting residents -- life and property -- are the ones we consider priorities always," said fire information officer Kim Steinbart, at the Kamloops Provincial Co-ordination Centre.

Lightning strikes and gusty wind are constant threats to causing current fires to grow or to start new blazes, she said.

"One of the biggest challenges we're facing right now is a lot of smoke, so it's reducing visibility (and) in some cases can make it more difficult for aircraft and crews on the ground," she said.

In the Cariboo, crews managed to contain 15 per cent of the 1.8-square kilometre Dog Creek fire, 40 kilometres south of Williams Lake. That blaze has forced 30 more people out and put another 100 on evacuation alert.

"We're pleased with the progress we've made there," said fire information officer Grace Pickell, at the Cariboo fire centre.

About 90 residents remain under evacuation alert in the rugged Yalakom Valley, where 125 firefighters have kept busy at the 12 square kilometre Jade wildfire for more than a week.

Other crews, meanwhile, had by Saturday fully contained a 53 hectare blaze in Barnhartvale, near Kamloops. Forty firefighters are patrolling and mopping up hot spots.

In Vancouver, the city's Board of Parks and Recreation on Saturday elevated the fire hazard rating from "high" to "extreme."

Other precautions also came into effect, including a ban on smoking in parks or on trails, the use of charcoal or wood burning barbecues and the recommendation to stay on trails.

A campfire ban extends across about 70 per cent of the province, with violators facing fines from $345 to $1 million and up to three years behind bars.