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Weather helping slow Quesnel fires

Evacuation orders cautiously downgraded to alerts
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The Greer Creek Falls Recreation Site is a backcountry favourite in the central interior, south of Vanderhoof - just one of many valued wilderness sites caught up in the current network of forest fires. (Donald Weaver photo)

There are wildfires dotting the eastern side of Highway 97, throughout the Cariboo, and there are some significant blazes in the southwestern portion of the region reaching towards Bella Coola, but the fact is, the bulk of B.C.’s wildfires can be found just north of a line drawn from Quesnel to the coast.

This nest of fire includes the Southern Dakelh communities all the way through the bush to Highway 16. While primary residences have seemingly been missed so far, some outbuildings, recreational areas, and agricultural values have been lost, as has a great deal of timber.

The weather turned the situation more favourable, this week compared to last. On Monday (July 17), the Cariboo Regional District was able to downgrade several evacuation orders to alerts, as cooler temperatures and some rain aided the firefighting efforts. Residents in the Pelican Lake, Teepee Lake (partial), Lhoosk’uz, and Townsend Creek areas were able to return home but still advised to be at the ready to flee again should conditions change. The Branch Road forest fire complex is also causing ongoing evacuation alerts.

The helpful rain early in the week has now dissipated. The latter part of this week is expected to bring warm, dry air so firefighters have to battle hard during the window of opportunity provided by the cooler, wetter conditions.

There are 19 active fires in the Quesnel Zone of the Cariboo Fire Centre region. Three of them are listed as Wildfires of Note.

Fire protection officials urge all residents to Register for the emergency notification system at www.cariboord.ca/register. The Cariboo Regional District’s website is the location for the most accurate and quick dissemination of information.

When in doubt about the status of an order or alert to call 1-866-759-4977 or to visit www.cariboord.ca