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Fears winds could spread BC wildfires as some evacuees return home

Last Updated Jul 23, 2017 at 8:10 am PST

Smoke is seen rising in front of the sun as a wild fire burns near Little Fort, B.C., on July 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Environment Canada says wind gusts of about 50 kilometres per hour can be expected across the southern parts of BC

Despite the concerns, evacuation orders were lifted for 100 Mile House and Princeton on Saturday

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) – 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.

Myrna Erho is one of the evacuees in Kamloops. She had to leave behind her horse. Myrna believes her horse is okay, but there could be another problem.

“Maybe she was just off the side maybe I hope. But now, one of the neighbours up the road, two of her studs are loose. So that’s a worry also. I could have baby next year!”

Art Paul is from 100 Mile House and staying in Kamloops. He doesn’t expect to go home soon because of the threat of fire.

“Two of my sons are firefighting, my two grandsons are firefighting. Yeah, I’m proud.”

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.

Kamloops marathon cancelled

As Kamloops continues to help wildfire evacuees, the city’s annual marathon, planned for today, has been cancelled.

Race Director Charlie Bruce says they decided to pull the plug a few days ago because of the current situation.

“Given the air quality and given the unique circumstances we’re dealing with here in Kamloops, the organizing committee felt it was best just to cancel this year’s marathon,” he says.

Bruce says some runners who had registered for the Kamloops Marathon are donating their registration fee to the BC Wildfire Recovery Fund, instead of getting a refund.