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Wildfires prompt evacuation order, alert near Wells, historic Barkerville

Wildfires prompt evacuation order, alert near Wells, historic Barkerville
Wildfires prompt evacuation order, alert near Wells, historic Barkerville

BC Wildfire Service pulled personnel and resources off the Cornish Mountain wildfire Wednesday night due to elevated winds, increased fire behaviour

The District of Wells in central BC has declared a state of local emergency July 10 and issued an evacuation order for Eight- and Nine-Mile Lake Areas, Cornish Lake, and Mine Sites in those areas due to wildfire. Anyone in the affected areas must leave immediately.

An evacuation alert has also been issued by the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for 340 parcels in the Barkerville – Cornish Mountain Fire Area Alert.

The alert was issued late Wednesday evening (July 10) and covers approximately 12,045 hectares in the Wells and Barkerville area east of Quesnel.

BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) personnel and resources were pulled off the Cornish Mountain wildfire Wednesday evening due to increased fire behaviour and elevated winds from a cold front that made it unsafe for first responders, noted BCWS in a late-night operational update.

“Personnel will be stationed in Wells to monitor fire activity and be prepared to respond throughout the evening (July 10). Additional resources are being deployed to support suppression efforts, including aircraft, personnel, structure protection personnel and trailer, along with heavy equipment,” noted BCWS Wednesday night.

The Cornish Mountain wildfire, fire number C10795, was discovered July 10 and is one of several new fires started by lightning July 9. It has grown to 70 hectares and is considered out-of-control.

DriveBC has not issued any warnings or alerts for Highway 26 and tourist attraction Barkerville Historic Town & Park remains open as of July 11, however, there is a campfire ban in effect at Barkerville’s campgrounds and cottages due to the fire activities caused by Tuesday night’s storm.

A full campfire ban comes into effect across the Cariboo Fire Centre Friday, July 12 due to the dry conditions brought on by recent hot weather.

The CRD issued the evacuation alert to give residents time to prepare to evacuate their premises or property should it be required.

“Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible if an evacuation order is required; however, we may not have time to go door-to-door due to changing conditions,” noted the CRD EOC in a news release.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN AN ALERT IS IN EFFECT

Upon notification of an ALERT, you should be prepared for an evacuation order:

  • Have a plan to transport all family members or co-workers outside of the area, should the area be placed under evacuation order.
  • Make grab-and-go bags for each member of your household to keep essential items readily available for a quick departure. Pack clothing, ready-to-eat food, toiletries, medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (ie insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc.).
  • Ensure that any dependents or pets are prepared for departure. Gather comfort items (blankets, stuffed animals, etc.) for your dependents to make an evacuation less stressful. Gather any kennels or leashes to make transportation safe with your pets.
  • Move pets and livestock to a safe area if they cannot be evacuated. Ensure water and feed are available.
  • Keep the fuel tanks of personal vehicles full in case a new order is issued.
  • Ensure that you have accommodation options for your family, if possible. An Evacuee Reception Centre will be made available if required. Homeowner or tenant insurance may provide greater support than ESS will be able to.
  • In the event you are evacuated, do not shut off your natural gas. For more information, visit fortisbc.com/forestfires.
  • Monitor reliable news sources for information on evacuation orders and locations of Reception Centres and the CRD’s channels on Facebook and cariboord.ca.
  • If you are on an evacuation ALERT, or if you have been displaced from your home due to an emergency, please self-register for Emergency Support Services. You will need to sign up for the BC Services Card app to access the self-registration tool, which will reduce wait times for evacuees and assist in the referral process. https://ess.gov.bc.ca/

Residents are encouraged to register for the Cariboo Chilcotin Emergency Notification System to receive a text, call or email regarding Evacuation Alerts and Orders.

For Cariboo Regional District information, please visit Cariboo Regional District’s website, Emergency Operations Centre Facebook page, Twitter / X feedor call the CRD’s emergency information line at 1-866-759-4977.