Almost 600 wildfires burning across BC

Children flee wildfire in California

The offices of the Caribou Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association in Williams Lake have also been closed and staff are working remotely, chairman Andre Kuerbis said.

"We stand by our customers and communities through the good times and the challenging times". She initially went to 100 Mile House to stay with her parents, but had to leave Sunday when that town was evacuated, too.

He confirmed Tuesday that one of the region's top tourist stops, historic Lee's Corner store and cabins, was burned to the ground by a wildfire last Friday.

BC Wildfire Service chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said there had been a slight reprieve in the weather forecast with some rain expected, bringing relief to the windy, hot and dry conditions fuelling almost 200 fires and displacing more than 14,000 people. It forced the closure of Interstate 8 and the evacuation of five homes in Alpine, a town of 15,000 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of San Diego. "I think we're still aways from that, hopefully", he added.

For the latest information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit EmergencyInfoBC.

On Tuesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed that at least 10 people have been arrested in connection with looting in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake. "We probably haven't seen this sort of activity that involves so many residences and people in the history of the province of B.C.", he said.

In 2003, wildfires in the province cost the B.C. economy $1.3 billion in direct fire suppression costs and indirect economic losses, according to a paper by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. From Fernie to Abbotsford to Prince George, people have been offering temporary homes for everything from hamsters to horses, and donations have flooded in to take care of lost livestock and pets.

Multiple highway routes around B.C. have been shut due to the fires, complicating and extending evacuation routes amid the turmoil.

About 200 rural homes east of Santa Maria were evacuated after the fire broke out Saturday and was fed by dry gusts.

Skrepnek said that while firefighters have been making progress against the flames blanketing B.C., they are pacing themselves for a potentially long fire season.

"The impending weather forecasts suggest that we're going to get an increase in winds and the weather is not going to be in our favour starting on Wednesday", said Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond".

The extremely dry and highly flammable debris left behind from logging can fuel fires that burn hot and spread quickly, easily escaping initial attacks.

They made a decision to leave after they lost power and smoke from nearby wildfires began to grow thicker.

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