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Residents ordered out of Williams Lake, B.C., ahead of fire fanned by high winds

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C.—Thousands of Williams Lake, B.C., residents are being forced from their homes as high winds fan a wildfire burning next to the community.An evacuation order was issued Saturday evening for the entire City of Williams Lake and numerous surrounding areas including the village of 150 Mile House that have been under threat from nearby fires for almost a week.Cariboo Regional District Chairman Al Richmond said winds began to pick up Saturday afternoon, prompting an expansion of evacuation alerts.“I think basically, Mother Nature is sort of bringing forward our worst case scenario,” Richmond said.Officials previously said forecast lightning and wind gusts of up to 70 km/h starting Saturday and developing into Sunday could cause a substantial increase in wildfire activity in British Columbia’s central and southern Interior.Article Continued BelowBC Wildfire Service said Saturday there are about 161 active wildfires in the province, 14 of which pose a direct threat to communities.Raging wildfires have already displaced more than 17,000 people, while the provincial government says another 27,000 people have been told they may need to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.Many of Williams Lake’s 11,000 residents had left voluntarily in recent days, however the order means thousands more will be headed to safety in Kamloops and other cities.

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