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B.C. wildfire status Monday: Williams Lake residents get ready to return home

Mon, Jul 24: Williams Lake residents are eagerly awaiting the all-clear to go home and as John Hua reports, a small army of dedicated people is making sure everything is more than ready for their return.

Officials in Williams Lake are readying for the return of thousands of people as crews continue to make headway on a number of wildfires burning around B.C.

A small army of people are in Williams Lake, making sure everything is good go go for all evacuees coming home.

WATCH: Williams Lake residents hope that they’re next in line to head home after wildfire evacuation orders were lifted for Princeton and 100 Mile House on Saturday. They are still not allowed back home yet, but officials are busy preparing for their eventual return. John Hua has more.

Williams Lake officials preparing for eventual return of residents
Williams Lake officials preparing for eventual return of residents

That means making sure shelves are stocked, the hospital can take patients and essential services are running.

More than 24,000 people have now been out of their homes for more than a week.

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“We have three power lines coming into town, two of them were down and only one left,” said Williams Lake Mayor Walter Cobb. “If you bring in a bunch of people back into town and all of a sudden everyone’s using power, if we blew that power, we’d be without it and we’d be in dire straits.”

FULL COVERAGE: Wildfires around B.C.

Meanwhile, in 100 Mile House, residents were allowed back home this weekend but they remain on evacuation alert and should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Crews are still fighting the Gustafsen wildfire from the air and the ground.

“After 16 days, I’m glad to be home, I’m glad to have a home to come back to,” said resident Laura Moi.

WATCH:  Thousands of people in the 100 Mile House area spent the day checking out their homes after finally being able to sleep in their own beds after about two weeks. Our Neetu Garcha joins us from 108 Mile Ranch where a few properties did not escape the flames.

Emotional return for residents returning home to 100 Mile House
Emotional return for residents returning home to 100 Mile House

More than 30,000 people remain displaced by the wildfires burning across the province, and officials don’t know when they might be able to lift all the evacuation orders.

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A 4,126-hectare wildfire is now burning in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park near B.C.’s border with Alberta.

The blaze, which is known as the Verdant Creek fire, was discovered on July 15, but it was officially classified as a “wildfire of note” on Sunday.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires map 2017: Current location of wildfires around the province

Hot and dry conditions continue to remain a concern for firefighters in B.C.

Global BC meteorologist Yvonne Schalle says there was some instability over the weekend with a low that swept across the province.

WATCH: Saving 108 Mile area from wildfires

Saving 108 Mile area from wildfires
Saving 108 Mile area from wildfires

“For the interior sections, there will be a bit of reprieve in terms of the risk of thunderstorms, and people will see a nice clearing that is on the way,” she said. “The concern this morning is for the Columbia and Kootenay region — windy conditions and northerly winds of 20 km/h with gusts to 40 km/h. It is going to ease off towards the afternoon.”

“The next weather story that we’re following for the interior will be the temperatures over the next few days. It is going to be dry and hot with highs into the 30s.”

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A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek behind a trailer park that was almost completely destroyed by wildfire, in Boston Flats, B.C., in the early morning hours of July 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek behind a trailer park that was almost completely destroyed by wildfire, in Boston Flats, B.C., in the early morning hours of July 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Burnt trees are pictured in front of a smoke-filled sky near Old Fort, B.C., Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Over 100 wildfires are burning throughout British Columbia, forcing thousands of residents to be evacuated or put on alert. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Burnt trees are pictured in front of a smoke-filled sky near Old Fort, B.C., Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Over 100 wildfires are burning throughout British Columbia, forcing thousands of residents to be evacuated or put on alert. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Jonathan Hayward, The Canadian Press
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