Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse says his community would not be standing today if members had heeded an earlier evacuation order.
According to a news release from the Tsilhqot’in community, also known as Anaham, a fierce firestorm driven by strong southwesterly wind jumped the Chilcotin River and was heading straight for their homes Saturday.
Alphonse says crews of well-trained firefighters, including 125 First Nations members, used everything they had to fight and divert the fast moving inferno which stopped just outside the entrance to the community.
“Our community would not be standing today had we heeded the RCMP order. Our new Health Care Center, new school, Church, store and many homes may not be here today.”
Alphonse says all those not fighting the flames were relocated to facilities in neighboring Tsilhqot’in communities where they will stay until the current threat subsides.
The Tl’etinqox community says it is grateful to all First Nations, provincial and out-of-province fire personnel who assisted in the effort as well as the many volunteers who continue to provide food and assistance.