LYTTON, B.C. — The BC Wildfire Service says more than 200 wildfires are burning in British Columbia after a series of thunderstorms swept over several parts of the province.

The wildfire service website shows about three dozen small fires were sparked across all regions except the Coastal Fire Centre.

At least 24 are believed to have been caused by lightning, while the website says two are blamed on human activity and the cause of the rest is undetermined.

Environment Canada has said conditions are favourable for very strong winds, large hail and heavy rain in at least eight regions of the province.

A dangerous heat wave continues to bring sweltering temperatures and little nighttime cooling to several areas, including the Fraser Canyon and Thompson regions where several dangerous wildfires are burning.

Flames that destroyed most of the Fraser Canyon village of Lytton last week have charred 77 square kilometres of bush, while the wildfire service says the blaze near Sparks Lake, north of Kamloops, has burned 392 square kilometres.

Evacuation orders covering hundreds of properties remain in place for both areas.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District said in a statement Tuesday that plans are underway for either a feeding or rescue operation of the animals that remain within the evacuated areas of Lytton.

There's a very limited window of opportunity to conduct the operation and a specialized team will be handling it, the statement said.

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Those who had to leave their animals behind are being asked to contact the district with information on location and care.

"While we understand that residents are anxious to return to the area, it is still unsafe to do so." the statement said.

It says the Lytton First Nation is also co-ordinating a plan for residents who have animals on the nation's property.

A total of 13 blazes that are either highly visible or pose a risk to humans and property are burning in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Prince George fire centres.

Air quality has also been affected by wildfire smoke and the weather office says those conditions will cover the northeastern corner of B.C., and most of the central and southern Interior for the next 24 to 48 hours.

"Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath," Environment Canada says in its latest air quality statement.

Children, seniors and those with heart or lung problems are especially at risk, the weather office says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2021.

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