(Check liveblog for live updates at the bottom of this story)
B.C. remains under a state of emergency as 150 wildfires continue to burn across the province. Fifteen of those fires are threatening communities.
About 45,000 British Columbians are still under evacuation order or alert as one of the worst wildfire seasons in B.C.’s history continues. Premier John Horgan has now extended the state of emergency by two weeks.
The B.C. Wildfire Service has provided a map of where the fires are located (it may not load in high traffic times so you might need to be patient).
The map is accurate as of 1 p.m., Thursday, July 20, although the wildfire situation may change at any time. The larger flames on the map are considered “wildfires of note.”
FULL COVERAGE: Wildfires burning around B.C.
Thousands of people were evacuated out of Williams Lake and the surrounding areas as winds on Saturday, July 15, blew a number of fires closer to the city.
Officials said that while the flames haven’t reached Williams Lake, an evacuation order was issued because the fire threatened to cut exit routes.
A wildfire in the Wildwood/Williams Lake Airport area, just north of Williams Lake, grew slightly to 13,213 hectares Wednesday.
Crews have managed to anchor the base of the fire into Highway 97, allowing them to build containment lines. The focus is on protecting Highway 97 and the community of Wildwood.
The Williams Lake Airport remains closed to commercial and private aircraft. It is open to firefighting crews only.
A fire located at 150 Mile House, just south of Williams Lake, is no longer considered a wildfire of note.
Last Saturday, this fire and the Hawkes Creek fire merged with the Wildwood fire and the fire is now being reported as the Wildwood fire only. Evacuation orders or alerts remain in place due to this fire.
Some rain fell on this region Thursday but not enough to make a significant difference to the fire situation.
Meanwhile, the Spokin Lake Rd. fire, burning about 20 kilometres east of Williams Lake, grew slightly to 2,650 hectares in size Wednesday. The Cariboo Regional District has issued an evacuation order for properties in the Miocene Fire Evacuation Zone 1 relating to this fire.
Crews have made progress fighting this fire with the construction of containment lines.
A wildfire at Soda Creek, on the west side of Highway 97, 17 kilometres northwest of the Williams Lake Airport , is now estimated at 251 hectares in size. The cause of this fire is being investigated. Updated maps have been provided for this fire.
A number of fires are also burning in the Hanceville area, about 60 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. These fires are now estimated to be about 132,000 hectares combined. This incident involves numerous fires over a large area.
The Hanceville and Riske Creek fires have been combined into one wildfire for reporting purposes.
WATCH: Amateur video captures scales of wildfire in Hanceville:
The B.C. Wildfire Service says the fire was active along the south side in the Big Creek area on Wednesday. Sprinkler protection is in place but it was too smoky for airtanker operations on Wednesday.
However, crews conducted a burn along the southwest side. Helicopters worked here until the winds shifted late Wednesday afternoon but air operations ceased due to poor visibility.
Sprinkler assessment is now underway for the community of Alexis Creek.
The east and northeast sides of the fire were fairly calm on Wednesday. Crews said the burn in the northeast corner was very effective Thursday and the north side of the fire has been steered into an old burn area. Crews have established guard all along the east side of the fire down as far as Farwell Rapids
The fire jumped the highway in three spots and also jumped the Farwell Lake Road in three places but all excursions were caught and guarded.
Crews and heavy equipment will work through the night again to hot-spot, build guard, and burn and remove fine fuels along the highway.
The Cariboo Regional District has put an Evacuation Order in place for a number of properties in the area.
However, the following area has been reduced from an Evacuation Order to an Evacuation Alert:
An Evacuation Alert was also issued on Tuesday for an area south of Nazko. This area includes:
Finally, the Castle Rock/Twan Lake fires merged on Wednesday into one fire.
One fire, estimated to be 2,538 hectares in size, merged with the other fire, estimated to be 2,987 hectares in size.
This fire remains zero per cent contained.
The fire has not moved any closer to Alexandria as of Thursday.
This wildfire, burning northeast of Williams Lake, is now estimated to be 8,107 hectares in size. The fire is burning only seven kilometres north of Williams Lake and the concern is that embers could reach nearby buildings. Crews are doing their best to stop the flames from growing by running sprinklers and hosing down key sites.
This wildfire is burning approximately 140 kilometres northwest of Williams Lake. It is now estimated at 9,536 hectares in size.
An evacuation order is in place due to this fire, a map can be found here.
Ground crews worked on structure protection around houses near the wildfire on Wednesday. That work will continue today.
This wildfire, currently burning west of Highway 20, primarily along the Klinaklini River, approximately 200 kilometres west of Williams Lake, is now estimated to be 56,000 hectares.
This fire was originally measured to be 5,000 hectares but improved visibility has allowed crews to better determine the size of the fire.
Winds Wednesday afternoon pushed the fire past the guard along the north side. The B.C. Wildfire Service says airtankers did a good job of stopping that spread.
A 20 person crew joined the efforts to control this wildfire Wednesday but the Coldwell Lake fire continues to move up the valley.
This fire, burning just north of Rosita-Meldrum Forest Service Road, approximately 80 kilometres northwest of Williams Lake, is now an estimated 49,131 hectares in size and is zero per cent contained as of Thursday.
This fire was first discovered Friday, July 7.
It was previously called the “Maka complex fire”.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says it is aware that there are rural homes in close proximity to this fire and crews have been checking on the properties in the vicinity.
A Structure Protection Specialist will be completing a plan for the area in two to three days, which will include setting up sprinkler units on structures in the area, should it be required.
On Wednesday, B.C. Wildfire Service personnel engaged in burn-off operations on the southern flank of the fire, burning off from the Rosita-Meldrum Forest Service Road to remove fuels between the road and the fire perimeter.
Another burn plan was established today that will be conducted when weather conditions allow. Heavy equipment will also be working to build guard that will tie into natural land features and roads along the eastern flank to help prevent further spread.
This wildfire is burning near the Gustafsen North Forest Service Road, west of 100 Mile House. It is still estimated to be 5,700 hectares in size.
The fire is now 45 per cent contained.
The fire has forced evacuations, including the entire community of 100 Mile House. The Cariboo Regional District has also issued Evacuations Alerts and Orders for 103 Mile House, 105 Mile House, western side of Lac La Hache, and the 108 Mile Ranch Community.
Crews continue to work hard day and night along the south west flank of the Gustafsen fire and the Highway 97 corridor. Meanwhile, structural fire crews and the RCMP continue to patrol areas of 100 Mile House, 103, 108 and surrounding areas.
The focus is now on pushing the guard lines further into the fire perimeter to reinforce the guards.
Note, the following lakes have been closed: Watson Lake, Lake La Hache and Horse Lake to maintain safe access for air tankers when needed.
PHOTOS: Wildfires burning around B.C.
A 3,300-hectare fire is still burning north of Princeton and is now 80 per cent contained.
WATCH: Not only are people being evacuated from their homes near Princeton due to a 2700 hectare wildfire, but their animals are as well. (aired Tuesday, July 11)
Evacuation orders and alerts are in place because of this fire.
As of noon July 18, 47 properties along Princeton Summerland Road have been downgraded from an Evacuation Order to advisory Evacuation Alert. The properties affected are listed on the second page of this Information Release. Princeton Summerland Road is now fully open.
A mandatory Evacuation Order area for a fire north of Princeton remains in effect for 303 total homes. The mandatory Evacuation order includes Highway 5A between Cedar Creek Road to Tulahead Campground and all of Summer Creek Road to Missezula Lake.
An advisory Evacuation Alert has been placed on an additional 304 properties.
Information will be updated at www.rdos.bc.ca.
The Ashcroft wildfire has now grown to approximately 52,600 hectares and numerous evacuation orders remain in effect. It is still estimated to be 30 per cent contained at this time.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says structures have been lost due to this fire.
The wildfire prompted the evacuation of the entire village of Cache Creek, but those residents were allowed to go home on Tuesday.
Ashcroft Hospital was also temporarily closed but regular services resumed on Tuesday.
A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is in place over the fire and the airstrip in Cache Creek.
A number of evacuation orders or alerts are in place due to this fire. Check here for a full list.
Ground crews and heavy equipment will continue to focus on building fuel breaks in an effort to protect property and values that are adjacent to this fire. Crews will perform controlled burning operations to increase containment along the west flank, if conditions allow.
Tuesday’s cooler weather resulted in decreased fire behaviour, which allowed crews to advance control lines and containment on the southeast flank. Temperatures are expected to decrease over the next few days.
This fire is still very active and continues to grow and burn out of control.
READ MORE: B.C. Wildfires 2017: How you can help
Three separate fires are burning near Little Fort and Clearwater, now known as the Little Fort Complex.
They are estimated to be 3,599 hectares in size total.
The three fires are:
Dunn Lake Wildfire
Location: West and north of Dunn Lake and along Dunn Lake Road.
Status: 3,027 hectares (estimated), approximately 30 per cent contained.
Thuya Lake Rd Wildfire
Location: Seven kilometres up Thuya Lake Road
Status: 556 hectares (estimated), approximately 80 per cent contained.
Lemieux Creek Wildfire
Location: 13 kilometres southwest of Clearwater
Status: 16 hectares (estimated), approximately 100 per cent contained.
This fire is currently burning 25 kilometres southeast of Quesnel. It grew slightly to 553 hectares in size and is now 60 per cent contained.
Heavy equipment and crews have completed guard lines around 60 per cent of the fire. However, a lot of unburned fuel remains between the fire perimeter and the guard.
Crews are continuing to maintain existing guards with support from aircraft.
This fire was originally called the Dragon Mountain Fire, but has been renamed to reflect a more accurate geographical location of the fire.
This wildfire is burning on the west side of Highway 97, approximately six kilometres southwest of Australian and 25 kilometres southeast of Quesnel.
It is still estimated to be 120 hectares and is 100 per cent contained.
This fire is now “under control”, and crews are continuing to patrol the west side of the fire and hose in from the perimeter of the eastern flank.
Crews are continuing to make good progress on this fire.
A wildfire burning about 30 kilometres north of Harrison Hot Springs, close to the mouth of Big Silver Creek, has grown slightly to 202 hectares in size. It remains 20 per cent contained.
The Fire Camp in the area has been closed.
Crews are continuing to maintain existing control lines and are working to expand these lines. The Forest Service Road remains closed at this time.
Officials say it is critical for the public to respect the Harrison Lake East Forest Service Road restrictions and closures at the 20 kilometres and 42 kilometres markers, for their own safety. This area is still an active fire and is considered hazardous.
This fire is believed to be human-caused.
The Sutherland Road wildfire, burning about 10 kilometres north of Fort Fraser, is estimated at 1,590 hectares in size.
The lightning-caused fire is out of control and crews are working to protect private property and structures from any damage.
The fire is now estimated to be 90 per cent contained but is still currently out of control. Crews have made good progress fighting this fire however. Water skimmers and water tankers were working on the fire throughout last weekend to help firefighters with suppression efforts. Ground crews continue working to complete the guard around the fire perimeter.
WATCH: B.C. wildfire smoke triggers air quality alerts in Alberta, Saskatchewan
An evacuation alert for this fire was expanded on July 10.
As of July 12, an Order of Restricted Access for the Sutherland Road Fire is in place. While this Order of Restricted Access is in effect, no one is allowed to remain in or enter the designated restricted area unless that person is authorized to enter the area to travel to and from work or is a local resident who is travelling to and from his or her residence – for more information click on “information bulletins” on the BC Wildfire Homepage.
A map of the restricted area is available online.
The Big Bend Creek wildfire, estimated at 2,062 hectares in size on Thursday, is burning at the 75-kilometre mark on the Kluskus Forest Service Road.
It has been classified as “out of control” and an evacuation alert is in effect. Residents should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
The fire is considered 90 per cent guarded but zero per cent contained. Around 100 per cent of the fire is loosely guarded with machine guard. Ground crews and heavy equipment continue to work to strengthen guards.
This wildfire, burning close to Tatelkuz Lake and at the 118-kilometre mark on the Kluskus Forest Service Road, grew slightly to 1,340 hectares.
The status of this fire is ‘being held’, meaning that given the current resources assigned to this fire and the suppression action taken, the fire is not likely to spread beyond existing or predetermined boundaries under the current and forecasted conditions.
No significant growth occurred at this fire Wednesday and very few smokes were reported.
Ground crews are working to reinforce the guard completed by heavy equipment.
This now 2,000-hectare fire is currently burning about 52 kilometres east of Bella Coola and west of Anahim Lake.
It is still zero per cent contained.
An Evacuation Order has been put in place for the residences threatened by this fire as there are multiple cabins and heritage sites that could be affected.
The order has been issued from the junction of the Tote Road at the foot of the Bella Coola Hill, east of Highway 20, to the end of the Tote Road and Turner Lakes Trail head and northeast to the area known as the Precipice.
All properties within this boundary may be impacted. From the Tote Road, follow the evacuation route on the road northwest to Highway 20 and west to Bella Coola.
From the Precipice follow the evacuation route east through the bush trail to Kappan Mountain Road and to Anahim Lake and west to Bella Coola via Highway 20.
Highway 20 is not impacted by the fire at this time.
-With files from Jon Azpiri and The Canadian Press
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