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October 27, 2017 4:33 pm

Williams Lake Evacuees Heading to Kamloops

Saturday, July 15, 2017 @ 6:38 PM

Bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving Williams Lake tonight along Highway 97 – photo submitted

Prince George, B.C. – Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb says now that an Evacuation Order has been issued for his city, the residents who have remained there are being told to head to Kamloops.

Mayor Cobb tells 250 News that although the earlier expectation was that residents would head to Prince George in the event of an order “they’re going to Kamloops now because they can’t get through north and the decision was made, because of the distance, that they made arrangements instead to go to Kamloops” via Highway 24 to Little Fort and then down Highway 5.

Asked why they wouldn’t still be heading up Highway 5, then along Highway 16 to Prince George, Cobb says “well I’m told that there’s no gas stations up that way.  That’s what I’m told, that they didn’t think they could get fuel for the buses.  At this stage they’re headed to Kamloops.  That was the last that was signed on the evacuation order, yes.”

As far as the number of evacuees goes Mayor Cobb says the city has about 11,000 residents “but a number of them already left, over 5,000 of them already registered that have left.  So say maybe 3,000 left.”

The mayor says he is staying put in Williams Lake.  “Yes, I’ve taken my motorhome over to the fire hall and I will be staying there unless things get really, really bad.  As long as there’s firefighters here who will need support I will be here.”

Mayor Cobb says “the fire that’s nearest us is the one that came up White Lake across the Rudy Johnson bridge, and that’s the issue.  The thought was it would come up the river valley and come into town but it didn’t, it went over the hill and crossed the highway.  That’s the reason you’re not going north now because it crossed the highway and the highway is closed.”

“That is right at Soda Creek, where the interpretive sign is.  We haven’t be able to go north now for about three hours.”

Right then the mayor hollered at a couple of guys walking down the street.  “Hey guys, there’s an evacuation order and you should get on the bus and get out of town.”

An update meeting is taking place at 8 o’clock tonight at UNBC’s Canfor Theatre.  Mayor Cobb says Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond is still in Williams Lake but may participate in the update by conference call or some similar means.


The head of the Caribou regional district was just on Global news advising people to head to PG as we are prepared to take up to 20000 evacuees.

No gas stations? Clearwater…Blue River…Valemont…McBride.

    Many of those locations aren’t open overnight. When 100 Mile evacuated they made special arrangements for the Clearwater location to stay open late.

    I’ve learned over the years the hard way, never rely on gas stations along this route.

The information provided above is incorrect they are being advised to come to Prince George

    Theinformation we have provided IS correct. Highway 97 north is closed at Soda Creek as the fire has crossed the highway. People are being directed to go to Kamloops as per the information provided by both the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake.
    How long they will be staying in Kamloops is another question, which we hope will be answered at the townhall meeting at UNBC this evening.
    stay tuned.

    Elaine Macdonald-Meisner

    Go to the WemegencyInfoBC for the list of all bulletins

    City of Williams Lake Evacuation Route:

    Follow Highway 97 South to Highway 24 (South of 100 Mile House); follow Highway 24 to Little Fort; turn right onto Highway 5 at Little Fort and continue to Kamloops and register at the ESS Centre located at Thompson Rivers University located at 805 TRU Way, in Kamloops.


    Kamloops is closer from Little Fort. It is possible to got to PG from there as well via Valemount.

      That should be EmergencyInfoBC ….. gremlins at work .. ;-)

    At first they where told to come here..but due to a fire they had to go to plan B and that was south..

Last I heard he has everyone directed to Little Fort and will make his next decision at that point. To the people of Williams Lake you need to make your own plans because your mayor is inept.

    I’m glad to see your so well informed Eagleone whether he is inept or not he made a decision based on reports received from forestry, police and emergency centres so he made a call based on that

    It’s not a call lightly made either whether you like the guy or not it is a call nobody likes to make

    It’s a call with profound consequences and one should expect a fair bit of competence. I have never met the man so have nothing personal… just calling it as I see it, and as I see it he is not up to the task. If it weren’t for the police, forestry, and emergency personal Cobb wouldn’t have made any decisions. He is basically a spokesperson at this point that will only get in the way of the real decision makers.

You should go down there and show him how it is done.

There are around 16,000 people displaced as of yesterday. This could make it around 20,000.

I say, share the wealth where we can, whether it is PG, Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, even the Fraser Valley.

I am sure there are people that are going to family,friends, wherever they are if they have the ability to do so.

Ohhh the people in Kamloops are going to be real happy lol

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