No Word on When 97 Will Re-open South of Quesnel
Prince George, B.C. – The wildfires that have forced the closure of Highway 97 south of Quesnel have not let up, and the Ministry of Transportation ‘s Mike Lorimer says it’s a day to day scenario.
Lorimer says Ministry staff examine the possibility of reopening that corridor based on three key issues ” One, is the highway safe from a transportation perspective? Two, is it safe from a fire behaviour perspective? Three, can we get agreement with the local government and the RCMP that security can still be provided?” Lorimer says with all the evacuation orders still in place, and some of the active fire behaviour, those three points have not been met “I don’t think we are in a place right now to say it could be opened, but it is something we are working on.”
Lorimer says they assess the situation on a daily basis. “And making plans so that when we are ready, we are able to open it as quick as possible.”
The highway has been under threat from the Soda Creek fire about 17 kilometers north of Williams Lake, When that fire expanded on Saturday, it cut off the northern route for residents of Williams Lake, and the decision was made to send Williams Lake evacuees south on 97 to 24, east on 24 to Little Fort, and then south to Kamloops on highway 5.
Drive BC is expected to provide its next update at noon today.