Travellers had to drive through a forest fire at Riske Creek Saturday to get back to Williams Lake, which was also surrounded by wildfires. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)

VIDEO: Thousands evacuate Williams Lake by school bus

Multiple fires are raging out of control in the Cariboo

Thousands of evacuees from Williams Lake and the surrounding areas spilled out onto Hwy. 97 south Saturday evening following an evacuation order due to the wildfires.

Gusting winds in the region are causing fires to grow and spread. BC Wildfire Service ground crews have been pulled out of the area. Several large fires are burning out of control around the city; the Spokin Lake fire, the Fox Mountain fire and the Wildwood fire, all just east of Williams Lake, were fanned by the strong winds.

More threatening for the city residents however, has been the White Lake fire located west of Williams Lake which continues to grow, sending plumes of smoke into the air. The White Lake fire has jumped the Fraser River near the Rudy Johnson Bridge north of Williams Lake – something officials had been fearing all week, forcing the evacuation.

When the fire jumped the bridge, it went up the highway, forcing officials to change their evacuation plans. Currently, Hwy. 97 north of Williams Lake is again open for evacuees. Hundreds of RCMP officers are on scene to help with the evacuation.

WATCH: Thousands evacuated to Kamloops from Williams Lake

More to come.

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