Kam­loops ‘stretched’ by too many evac­uees

Some Bri­tish Columbians chased from homes by wild­fires be­ing di­verted else­where

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

As more Bri­tish Columbians are chased from their homes by wind-fanned wild­fires, of­fi­cials say they are con­cerned that their place of refuge in Kam­loops may be stretched too thin.

Seven evac­u­a­tion or­ders were is­sued Satur­day af­ter­noon and evening, in­clud­ing for thou­sands in the City of Wil­liams Lake and the sur­round­ing area.

Cari­boo Re­gional Dis­trict Chair­man Al Rich­mond says that while the flames haven’t reached Wil­liams Lake, he and the mayor de­cided to is­sue the evac­u­a­tion or­der be­cause the fire threat­ened to cut exit routes.

Ini­tially, they had planned that Wil­liams Lake res­i­dents would go north to Prince Ge­orge, but Rich­mond says flames crossed that high­way, and the ma­jor­ity of evac­uees were di­verted south to­wards Kam­loops.

But he says Kam­loops is “stretched,’’ and be­cause evac­uees are also com­ing from Loon Lake, it will only get worse.

He says they’re con­cerned about over­load­ing the cen­tre and he’s urg­ing all evac­uees to call the Red Cross, which is help­ing co-or­di­nate the ef­forts.

Of­fi­cials in Lake Coun­try said res­i­dents hop­ing to get back to their homes are be­ing turned away. Evac­uees were forced to flee quickly on Satur­day when a fire spread in the for­est and brush above Okana­gan Lake north of Kelowna.

Lake Coun­try fire chief Steve Wind­sor said peo­ple are now try­ing to fig­ure out whether their homes have been de­stroyed — and sev­eral have.

“We’re not re­leas­ing the num­bers yet,’’ he said. “But at this point we’re say­ing ‘nu­mer­ous,’ and it is quite nu­mer­ous.’’

In an ear­lier news re­lease, Cen­tral Okana­gan Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions said ``as many as 10’’ struc­tures had been re­ported dam­aged.

Wind­sor said no one has been se­ri­ously hurt by the fire, but some fire­fight­ers have been treated for mi­nor in­juries.

The fire has largely been con­tained, he said, but the sit­u­a­tion has not yet been sta­bi­lized.

Winds threaten to blow the flames past re­tar­dant lines that were set up overnight, and the fire is be­hav­ing “ag­gres­sively.’’

CP PHOTO

Wild­fire evac­uees McLean Ris­lund, 80, and June Ris­lund, 81, from For­est Grove near 100 Mile House, walk to an evac­u­a­tion reg­is­tra­tion cen­tre in Kam­loops, B.C., on Mon­day. As more Bri­tish Columbians are chased from their homes by wind-fanned wild­fires, of­fi­cials say they are con­cerned that their place of refuge in Kam­loops may be stretched too thin.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.