Officials say scattered showers won't help B.C. wildfires, winds may fuel flames

Smoke from the Ashcroft Reserve fire has contributed to very poor air quality in Kamloops and surrounding areas.

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. - Despite a slight reprieve in weather conditions in recent days, crews battling wildfires in British Columbia are now preparing for the worst as officials predict winds to pick up over the weekend.

The Cariboo Fire Centre says although winds remained calm yesterday, there's a chance they will pick up Saturday, fuelling dozens of fires across the Interior region of the province.

Environment Canada forecasts a chance of rain for Williams Lake where 11,000 people are on standby to evacuate, but officials say any showers that develop will not be enough to douse active fires.

A special air quality statement remains in effect for the Interior and eastern parts of the province. Residents are warned to avoid strenuous activity outside and children and seniors are encouraged to stay indoors.

The province declared a state of emergency last week and more than 16,000 people have been evacuated, with thousands more on alert.

The province says evacuees must remain patient and wait for official notice before they can return home, and warns violating orders can detract from firefighting efforts by diverting first responders to take part in avoidable rescues.

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