Record-setting heat, strong winds, whip up wildfires around B.C.

Washington State Diamond Creek fire has crossed into Canada west of Osoyoos, B.C. Global News

Record-setting heat and some strong winds woke up the massive Elephant Hill wildfire on Wednesday.

The Cariboo Regional District was forced to issue another evacuation order for communities near Highway 24 due to the blaze flaring up.

An urgent tactical evacuation was undertaken after volatile winds whipped up the flames.

Many residents say the northern tip of the fire is edging closer and closer to homes.

The fire burning northwest of Kamloops now covers more than 175,000 hectares and approximately 400 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is 50 per cent contained.

PHOTOS: The wildfire as seen from Green Lake:

Courtesy: Cory Rushinko.
Courtesy: Cory Rushinko.
Courtesy: Cory Rushinko.

MAP: Location of where the wildfires are burning around B.C.

A large wildfire burning in the back woods of Washington State has now crossed into Canada.

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The Diamond Creek wildfire has burned almost 20,000 hectares of land and is now burning around 70 kilometres west of Osoyoos.

The U.S. Forest Service says around 1,700 hectares have burned in B.C. as of Thursday morning, jumping from 120 hectares just 24 hours earlier.

BC Parks has shut down Cathedral Provincial Park southwest of Keremeos due to safety concerns around the fire. The blaze is within 20 km of Cathedral Provincial Park’s western boundary, though it’s not burning within the park itself.

No structures or communities are being threatened by the fire at this time.

FULL COVERAGE: B.C. wildfires

Meanwhile, crews are starting to get the upper hand on the stubborn Philpott Road wildfire.

They were able to install sprinklers for the 20 or so homes considered to be the most threatened by the blaze.

On Wednesday, 125 people were allowed to return to their homes, leaving 77 people on evacuation order. The evacuation alert area was further adjusted at 12:25 p.m. Thursday.

Officials are now hoping the wind will hold off and not whip the fire back up.

At least eight municipal fire departments from the central Okanagan have also sent personnel and equipment to the fire site.

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Their main focus is to try to prevent homes or other structures from burning down.

Sprinkler systems have been set up on and around buildings on about 20 of the most threatened properties.

The systems are turned on twice a day.

There are now 145 fires burning around B.C. with 17 new fires starting on Wednesday.

Since April 1, there have been 1,154 wildfires in the province, burning an estimated 1,065,000 hectares.

Fighting the wildfires has cost the province $419.7 million to date.

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