July 20, 2017 10:13 am
Updated: July 20, 2017 4:51 pm

B.C. wildfire status Thursday: officials confirm 41 homes lost in the Cariboo

Smoke rises from trees burned by wildfire on a mountain near Ashcroft, B.C. in this file photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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B.C. Premier John Horgan has now extended the province-wide state of emergency for two more weeks, saying it is clear the government needs to do more to help the people of B.C.

The government is giving people an additional $600 every 14 days they are evacuated from their homes.

About 150 wildfires continue to burn across the province and about 45,000 people are still under evacuation order or alert.

LISTEN:  CKNW reporter Emily Lazatin talks to Fire Information Officer Navi Saini


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So far, the fires have cost the province more than $105 million.

FULL COVERAGE: Wildfires burning around B.C.

Officials in the Cariboo confirm at least 41 homes have been lost so far due to the wildfires. Some structures have already been lost as well.

Crews are now going into communities hit by the fires to assess the overall damage. They say it’s likely the numbers will only  go up.

Assessments have already been conducted in the Wildwood area, Spokin Lake, Miocene, 108 Mile Ranch, 105 Mile and 103 Mile Road West.

WATCH: Rain in the forecast Thursday helps crews battle B.C. wildfires 

The Soda Creek Road area has not been assessed at this time due to the encroaching wildfire.

More assessments will have to be done in the coming weeks.

Nineteen evacuation orders and 12 alerts have been issued in the region since the first week of July, affecting more than 35,000 people.

WATCH: New B.C. Premier John Horgan has extended the state of emergency across B.C. because of wildfires, and made more funds available for evacuees. Neetu Garcha is in Cache Creek, where the news is getting a mixed reaction.

In Lake Country, all the residents who had been forced to leave their homes were allowed back on Wednesday.

The evacuation order for 58 properties was rescinded and the Emergency Operations Centre is now closed as the Okanagan Centre wildfire is now completely contained.

However, affected residents are under an evacuation alert and should be ready to leave on short notice.

Firefighters continue working to extinguish hot spots and remove trees in the line of the fire. The public is asked to stay out of fire-scorched areas for safety reasons.

Parks and trails remain closed.

WATCH: An emotional day for evacuees as they were allowed to return to their homes:

Some rain in the forecast

It is raining in the central and southern interior today, but there is also some lightning moving through the region.

Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga says this is a one-day event, however.

“A low-pressure centre [is] moving through southern B.C., generating showers and even some lightning, not only in the Cariboo region but the B.C. southern Interior and even the south coast,” he says. “In the Cariboo [there will be] some showers, some of them heavy today which is excellent news there. But the risk of lightning will continue today and then it will dry out again later tonight and tomorrow.”

Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District, says the rain is welcome.

“According to the fire service, we’re not going to get enough to make a significant difference in the fire,” he says.

“But we’re very pleased, every little bit that Mother Nature gives us is helpful.”

 

Rain in the area of Williams Lake Thursday morning.

Williams Lake

While the town of Williams Lake remains on evacuation order, Richmond says they are looking at re-entry plans for the residents, if they are able to bring people home soon.

He says they want to make sure there’s food in the grocery stores and that there’s a plan for residents to dispose of food and their fridge/freezers due to the length of time they would have been away from their homes.

Richmond says crews will not be going into peoples’ homes to remove the fridges and freezers but they will be putting a plan in place for everyone to follow.

100 Mile House

The town of 100 Mile House remains on evacuation order and Richmond says there is no clear timeline when those residents might be allowed back home.

He says they still have a number of things to assess before they can start developing a re-entry plan.

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