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Kamloops may be 'stretched' by too many evacuees; some being diverted elsewhere

A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek, B.C., in the early morning hours of Monday July 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – As more British Columbia residents are chased from their homes by wind-fanned wildfires, officials say they are concerned that their place of refuge in Kamloops may be stretched too thin.

Seven evacuation orders were issued Saturday afternoon and evening, including for thousands in the City of Williams Lake and the surrounding area.

Cariboo Regional District Chairman Al Richmond says that while the flames haven’t reached Williams Lake, he and the mayor decided to issued the evacuation order because the fire threatened to cut exit routes.

Initially, they had planned that Williams Lake residents would go north to Prince George, but Richmond says flames crossed that highway, and the majority of evacuees were diverted south towards Kamloops.

But he says Kamloops is “stretched,” and because evacuees are also coming from Loon Lake, it will only get worse.

He says they’re concerned about overloading the centre and he’s urging all evacuees to call the Red Cross, which is helping co-ordination the efforts.