UPDATE: 12:20 p.m.
The public once again has access to lakes in the Cariboo region, including Watson Lake, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake and Horse Lake. People are still reminded to be cautious near aircraft getting water to fight wildfires.
The move to reopen access to the lakes follows an evacuation order lifted yesterday for a large portion of 100 Mile House.
The BC Wildfire Service is asking the public to be mindful of aircrafts in and around lakes which may need access to water. If an aircraft is spotted by people on a lake, they are asked to safely make their way to the shore so as not to impede firefighting efforts.
“When firefighting aircraft, such as air tankers or helicopters, are working on an active wildfire and picking up water from nearby lakes, they need plenty of room to manoeuvre to do their job safely,” says a press release. “The BC Wildfire Service will closely monitor this situation and if the need arises, will reinstate area restriction orders to the necessary areas.”
A number of evacuation orders and alerts remain in place.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, please call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.
For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1 888 3-FOREST (1 888 336-7378) or visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
ORIGINAL STORY: 6 a.m.
Officials are concerned strong winds today will spread wildfires that crews in British Columbia are struggling to contain.
Environment Canada says wind gusts of about 50 kilometres per hour can be expected across the southern parts of the province including Williams Lake, Castlegar and Princeton.
Fire information officer Navi Saini says officials are closely monitoring the conditions and winds could definitely make matters worse.
Despite the concerns, evacuation orders were lifted for 100 Mile House and Princeton on Saturday, giving thousands of people the option to return home.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was in Kamloops Saturday to announce the federal government will be adding to funds managed by the Canadian Red Cross to help the 44,000 people displaced due to the crisis.
He says the province is only in the beginning of the fire season and has already been facing a very dangerous and difficult situation.
More than 735 fires have burned through 361,000 hectares this season, costing the province $122 million in suppression efforts alone.–with files from The Canadian Press