Winds in Cariboo and southern B.C. expected to increase wildfire activity

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      After a couple of relatively quiet days, the B.C. wildfire situation is expected to worsen through this weekend.

      That's because a "major wind event" is going to hit the Cariboo and southern B.C., according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

      And that "could cause significant growth of current wildfires", as well as start new fires that could spread.

      "Given the proximity of existing wildfires to communities, infrastructure and transportation corridors, people throughout the Cariboo region and the southern Interior should be prepared for potential evacuations," the government states.

      In the government's daily briefing, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepek said that an evacuation order has been issued for Loon Lake.

      There are also evacuation alerts in place for Clinton and a big area around this town in the Thompson-Nicola region.

      Skrepnek reported that there are 161 fires burning in B.C., including 27 "wildfires of note".

      Fourteen of them are interface fires, which means communities are in potential danger.

      Since the start of the year, more than 128,000 hectares have burned and $77 million has been spent on fire suppression, according to Skrepnek.

      The big story last night was the expansion of the Ashcroft Reserve wildfire to 14,700 hectares. This was on the north side away from the village of Cache Creek.

      "This fire saw some explosive growth yesterday evening," Skrepnek said.

      The Gustafsen North wildfire near 100 Mile House is 5,000 hectares and 20 percent contained.

      The wildfire 10 kilometres northeast of Princeton is 3,300 hectares and 35 percent contained.

      The largest set of fires are in the Chilcotin: the Hanceville wildfires are covering 45,000 hectares about 60 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. They are zero percent contained.

      The full fire briefing, including air-quality information, is available in the soundcloud file in the tweet below.

      The B.C. Wildfire Service says smoke from the Cariboo and Kamloops fire centres is expected to drift into southeastern B.C.

      There are several wildfires in this area of the province, though none are threatening any communities. Today, the goverment issued the following updates about them:

      • "Two wildfires are burning 5 kilometres and 11 kilometres northeast of Galena Bay. These wildfires are one hectare or less, are burning at high elevation, and are not threatening highway infrastructure; however, they are visible from Highway 31 and Galena Bay. 
      • "Two small wildfires about one hectare in size, one located about 10 kilometres west of Kaslo on Mount Carlyle, and another burning northwest of Kootenay Lake on Windsor Peak, are also burning at high elevation and are not threatening communities or structures.
      • "A number of fires are burning in Glacier and Kootenay National Parks. Two fires located in Glacier National Park are visible from the TransCanada Highway and one fire in Kootenay National Park in the Verdant Creek area is visible east of Highway 93. These fires are being managed by the Glacier and Kootenay National Park Fire Management crews."