BC declares rare state of emergency as wildfires multiply

Open fire ban in effect across Coastal region

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The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre warned residents that the situation had been aggravated by lightening strikes.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is estimated at 50 hectares in size.

Structures have been lost to the Gustafsen Lake fire in the South Cariboo, confirms Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond.

The entire District of 100 Mile House is also under an evacuation alert, as well as several properties near 150 Mile House.

Taking into account the logistical challenges of evacuating [so many], we must begin the process now, secure the community and make sure everyone is safe, rather than having to do that tonight.

Crews are battling a wildfire that sparked on northern Vancouver Island Wednesday night and has now grown to 20 hectares in size.

One hundred and twenty firefighters are now working on the construction of ramparts on the eastern flank of the fire, the closest to the evacuated communities.

"The fire activity is so unpredictable, we need to move people out of any potential path it has, and that's a very logical path for it to take", said Richmond.

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Representatives from Catholic Charities Community Services' northern locations said they were on standby to offer local support if needed and to particularly offer assistance to the Red Cross. Evacuees are encouraged to register so their families can know they are safe.

"There were flames right in the ditch on both sides (for) roughly about two kilometres", he said.

Sprinkler protection units have been set up on houses and many were left untouched as the fire passed them.

"The Southeast Fire Centre is now experiencing dry conditions and fire danger ratings are generally "high" or "extreme" throughout the region", the media release said.

"Today we've been focusing on people's safety".

"It is growing quickly, with high winds in the area", said Justine Hunse, communications officer for the service.

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC.

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