Cariboo district issues three wildfire evacuation alerts near 100 Mile House

This is the Bishops Bluff wildfire pictured on Aug. 13, 2017. This fire has since merged with several others in the western Cariboo to create the massive Plateau fire. (BC Wildfire Service)

The Cariboo Regional District issued three evacuation alerts due to wildfires near 100 Mile House Saturday afternoon.

The alerts cover new areas around Canim Lake and four properties near Little Drewry Lake, and come amid a difficult summer for B.C. wildfire crews.

“Because of the potential danger to life and health, the Cariboo Regional District has issued an Evacuation Alert,” read the alerts.

Canim Lake “Area #3” includes 243 parcels of land which cover 20,641 hectares. Canim Lake “Area #4” includes 153 land parcels, covering 32,049 hectares. Areas 1 and 2 have been on evacuation alerts since early July.

The Little Drewry Lake alert includes four properties and covers 1,839 hectares.

Although residents were not being asked to evacuate, the alert means they need to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice should conditions become more dangerous.

According to data from the BC Wildfire Service, a fire south of Canim Lake has been burning since June 30, and another fire, northeast of the evacuation areas, has been burning since July 1. Both were caused by lighting and while the former is categorized as a “wildfire of note,” the latter is being described as “out of control.”

The alerts come as 277 wildfires are burning in B.C., 78 of which have started in the past two days. Experts have linked the severity of the province’s wildfires to climate change, noting that less snowpack on the mountains is leading to drier conditions and B.C. is seeing hotter weather as the global temperature increases.

"We're seeing, with climate change, longer fire seasons. Springs are coming earlier, we're not getting as much snowpack in some years," said Lori Daniels, wildfire expert at the University of British Columbia, when speaking to CTV News Vancouver earlier in the week.

"When you melt out that snow early and begin to dry out the land early in the spring and then you add the heat of the summer on top of it, we're having more extreme fire danger conditions."

B.C.'s record-breaking heat wave and drier-than-average June have set the stage for "very large fire growth" in July, according to a seasonal outlook from wildfire officials.

The B.C. Wildfire Service's July forecast points to an abundance of fire fuel – such as dry grass, brush, trees and leaves – that's particularly prevalent in the Okanagan and southern parts of the province.