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B.C. towns brace for wildfire evacuation orders as weather turns

A wildfire burns on a mountain behind a home in Cache Creek, B.C., in the early morning hours of July 8.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Officials are preparing for more evacuation alerts and orders as wildfires in British Columbia risk worsening this weekend.

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb says crews are ensuring routes are clear and buses are ready if the city's 11,000 residents are suddenly forced to leave.

Lightening and strong winds are in the forecast and could fuel the dozens of fires burning across the province, three of which surround Williams Lake.

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The BC Wildfire Service says it's taken steps to help ground crews fight some of the fires, by burning a safe perimeter around a 2,600-hectare blaze near 150 Mile House.

The service is asking people to stay away from the backcountry to avoid triggering human-caused fires.

Officials are also asking the public to stay off four lakes in the Cariboo region, specifically Williams Lake, Watson Lake, Lac La Hache and Horse Lake, so that firefighting aircraft have room to pick up water.

On Friday evening, Emergency Info BC issued its first evacuation order since Wednesday.

People in the Loon Lake area of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District were ordered to evacuate the area, and an evacuation alert was issued for the Village of Clinton.

Village officials warned that residents should prepare for an evacuation order, noting that the fire was headed their way and "poses an imminent threat to people and property."

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