Photo: The Canadian Press
Photo: The Canadian Press
Photo: The Canadian Press

Williams Lake: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked those on the front lines of British Columbia’s firefighting efforts as he stopped in Williams Lake on Monday.

Trudeau addressed about 250 people from the fire service, police and military who have been helping keep the wildfires from overrunning communities in what has been a devastating fire season.

He thanked the workers on behalf of all Canadians for “stepping up,” saying it is reassuring for people to see everybody pulling together.

“It’s something that is just part of who we are as Canadians, as British Columbians and I really appreciate it.”

The prime minister said different levels of government will work in the coming months to set things back to normal for communities damaged by fires.

“I just really want to most on behalf of all Canadians say thank you for the strength and the leadership you’ve shown over the past weeks and will continue to show I know for as long as necessary.”

Dozens of homes have been lost as hundreds of fires have burned around the province.

Several hundred residents cheered as Trudeau and Premier John Horgan emerged from a local recreation centre, and the cheering grew even louder as the fire service personal filed out of the building.

Thousands of Williams Lake residents returned to their homes over the weekend after they were forced to leave July 15 when a fast-moving fire encroached on their community.

Trudeau’s visit comes as the forecast calls for another week of hot, dry weather.

Environment Canada has issued a special warning about a pending heat wave for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound and several parts of Vancouver Island.

Residents have been told to expect daytime temperatures to soar to the mid to upper 30s.

A forecast of lightning in the Interior, where the majority of the fires are already burning, could make the fire situation even worse.

Fresh firefighting troops have been brought in from Yukon to help the thousands of crews already involved in the battle.

The territory’s wildfire service says 16 firefighters and an air-tanker group were in Prince George over the weekend.

Yukon’s fire season is coming to a close, with the fire danger rating dipping throughout the territory.

About 3,700 people remained displaced in B.C. by the nearly 150 fires that were still burning as of Sunday.

The Canadian Press