Thousands of evacuees from Williams Lake and the surrounding areas spilled out onto Hwy. 97 south Saturday evening following an evacuation order due to the wildfires.
Gusting winds in the region are causing fires to grow and spread. BC Wildfire Service ground crews have been pulled out of the area. Several large fires are burning out of control around the city; the Spokin Lake fire, the Fox Mountain fire and the Wildwood fire, all just east of Williams Lake, were fanned by the strong winds.
More threatening for the city residents however, has been the White Lake fire located west of Williams Lake which continues to grow, sending plumes of smoke into the air. The White Lake fire has jumped the Fraser River near the Rudy Johnson Bridge, northwest of Williams Lake, and travelled across a portion of Old Soda Creek Road. Officials have been fearing the large aggressive fire would jump the river all week.
When the fire jumped the bridge, it went up the highway, forcing officials to change their evacuation plans. As of Sunday morning, the fire was in the forest just north of the West Fraser Mill which is located on the Old Soda Creek Road.
Currently, Hwy. 97 north of Williams Lake is again open for evacuees. Hundreds of RCMP officers are on scene to help with the evacuation.
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More to come.