Wildfires continue to burn out of control across the province. According to BC Wildfire’s Facebook page this is the busiest wildfire incident in recent history with 138 new wildfires starting yesterday alone. Lightening, high temperatures and strong winds are the contributing factors to the increase in fire activity.
Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation says people in his community are returning to their homes. People in the community have not had any homes lost, but neighboring non-indigenous community members have had houses lost to the fire.
Among some of the structures lost was the East Corner building, one of the first settlement buildings in the Tsilhqot’in are are gone. The Chief noted that it is a pretty emotional and frightening time back in his home community.
Chief Alphonse took a last minute trip to Kamloops and became stranded due to road closures. He noted that communities across BC are in states of emergency due to the wildfires and the whole interior corridor of the province is suffering from poor air quality and evacuations.
this is the second time in the past six years that the community has been evacuated due to wildfires and Chief Alphones noted that the fires yesterday had no warning and have spread very quickly leaving residents unable to prepare for the emergency.
Chief Alphonse is currently on his way back to his home community, taking back roads to avoid getting stranded again. He is urging communities to account for their members, account for your families and elders and also to check on neighbours and residents who may not have vehicles or transportation.
The Cariboo region District has issued an evacuation order for over 2000 properties along the west side of Highway 97 between the Northern boundary of 100 mile house and the norther tip of Lac La Hache. Highway 97 Northbound has reopened with a detour available to Prince George.
Air quality warnings and smoke advisories have been issued throughout the Cariboo area due to smoke produced from the wildfires. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
Emergency Social Services Reception Centres have been established at the Curling Rink on Airport Road in 100 Mile House and the Ramada Inn Convention Centre in Williams Lake. The CRD’s EOC Public Information line is 250-398-5117.
For up to date fire information, please follow the Cariboo Fire Centre on Facebook or call 1-888-336-7378. For up to date information on Highway closures, please visit www.drivebc.ca. For more information regarding evacuations, please visit the CRD’s website at cariboord.ca.
The City of Williams Lake is also continuing to monitor wildfire activity.
The city has issued an Evacuation Alert for residents on South Lakeside Drive from the Seventh Day Adventist Academy east to the City boundary, and urges residents in this area to consider self-evacuating at this time.
An emergency reception centre has been established at Lake City Secondary (Carson Campus).
At this time there is no imminent threat to any structures or property within City boundaries.
For information of an urgent nature please call 250-392-2364.
The BC government is expected to update the state of emergency during a teleconference this afternoon.