11,000 Flee Canada Wildfires

Officials said Sunday that about 11,000 residents of a subdivision threatened by a forest fire in southern British Columbia have been evacuated.

Helicopters, air tankers and firefighters were attacking the 3.5-square-kilometer (1.35-square-mile) blaze raging behind the Glenrosa subdivision, some 275 kilometers (170 miles) east of Vancouver.

"You had to get out. We just did what we were told. We just picked up our belongings and got out," Wilf Carey said as he went in to register at the evacuee center.

Another 6,000 people in the West Kelowna subdivision were told to be on evacuation alert, according to updated figures released by Jeanne Rucker, of the British Columbia Forest Service, The Associated Press reports.

One of the fires near Kelowna, British Columbia, started on Saturday. It quickly grew to 300 hectares (740 acres) and destroyed up to nine homes.

A second seemingly unrelated fire broke out on Sunday some 10km (6 miles) away and has already consumed 100 hectares.

The cause of the fires are not known. A 2003 fire in the same area destroyed more than 240 homes, BBC News reports.

As of Saturday night, 45 firefighters, seven helicopters and eight waterbombers have been dispatched to contain the blaze. Another 80 firefighters from the B.C. Forest Service are expected to arrive at the site Sunday.

The area, which lies in the B.C. interior, is not unfamiliar with forest fires. The most notable one is in 2003, when a 250 square-kilometer fire ravaged Okanagan Mountain Park and led to the evacuation of about 27,000 people and destruction of over 200 homes, Xinhua reports.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team