Williams Lake Walmart closes as city struggles under evacuation alert

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According to the BC Wildfire Service, there are 2,991 firefighters and other personnel now fighting the fires including 363 from out-of-province, 1,020 contractors and there are 192 helicopters and planes supporting ground crews.

About 680 blazes have consumed 1,110 square kilometres of grass, bush, forest and in some cases neighbourhoods since the fire season began in April, Skrepnek said.

There are now 167 active fires across BC, and though none of the largest fires threatening homes in Ashcroft, Williams Lake, Little Fort, 100 Mile House and Quesnel are fully contained, Skrepnek says crews have made some progress.

Crews have been preparing by conducting controlled burns all across B.C.'s central interior, desperately trying to get rid of anything that could fuel the flames.

There are more than 16,000 evacuees and more than 4,000 families registered with Red Cross.

More than 3,100 people have been enlisted to fight the flames, including firefighters and support staff, almost 400 of whom were brought from outside B.C.to help.

Some staff has already apparently made a decision to leave the region, not waiting on the official evacuation alert to be upgraded to an official order.

A Delta staff member and a Delta firefighter have been deployed to Williams Lake where they are assisting the Caribou Regional District Emergency Operations Centre, while six Delta police officers have been deployed to various locations around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. An evacuation alert was issued Saturday for the Clisbako area.

At least 60 per cent of residents had already left town, he estimated, largely because of the smoke from the fires.

Cobb said that the current weather outlook is better than initial predictions, which has helped avoid evacuation orders.

Anxiety is rising in Williams Lake as a number of fires burn around the city.

A large swath of central British Columbia's backcountry has been closed for travel, camping and other recreational use in an effort to protect public safety and prevent any more forest fires.

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