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Since April 1, 657 fires have destroyed some 730 m² (188,800 hectares) of forest in the province.

Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.'s chief fire information officer, said gusty winds were expected to trigger extreme and violently aggressive fire behaviour.

While resources are starting to strain, Stone says no evacuees will be turned away.

While Richmond says they won't force people out of their homes during an evacuation order, "in all likelihood we would have them sign a form, maybe ask for a DNA swab", he always comes back to safety.

Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor said residents are understandably anxious about the possible loss of their homes.

Dave Dixon, who's managing emergency social services in the Williams Lake region, says more than 200 people have registered in case new evacuation orders force people living there to leave.

"My thoughts are with families in Williams Lake and other communities issued evacuation orders today, and with the countless volunteers, emergency response workers and firefighters who have been tirelessly working to support and protect families and communities".

The Ashcroft fire saw "explosive growth yesterday evening", Skrepnek said.

The fire was last estimated at 30 hectares in size and around 50 per cent contained, although crews are still fighting active fires within the area.

As the threat of wildfire grows because of wind in the forecast, Burnaby firefighters and equipment are headed to the Williams Lake area to provide immediate assistance. It's: "'okay, let's go, let's get our computers.' We were probably out of the house in 15 minutes".

As of Saturday afternoon, officials said 161 fires were burning, with 14 new fires that surfaced on Friday.

The NDP won 41 of the 87 legislature seats in the May election, but reached a deal with the B.C. Greens, who won three seats, which will allow them to form a narrow minority government. Imperial Metals Corp and Taseko Mines Ltd said separately on Monday they had suspended operations at mines in the area.

Hundreds of fire-suppression crews were standing by within an hour of the community and military personnel were ready to assist with mass evacuations, if necessary, he said.

He said he was concerned about overloading the centre and urged those people whose homes had been evacuated to call the Red Cross, which is helping co-ordinate the efforts.

Information will be updated at www.rdos.bc.ca including links to interactive maps where residents can type in their property address to see if they are in Evacuation Order or Alert areas.


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