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October 27, 2017 4:23 pm

Williams Lake Area Not Yet Safe for Return

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 5:37 PM

Prince George, B.C. –  Day 19 since the first evacuation order was given in the South Cariboo.  While those from  100 Mile and area have been  allowed to return home, there is still no  word on when  evacuees from Williams Lake  can do the same.

At this evening’s town hall meeting , Williams Lake Director of Community Services,  Geoff Paynton says there is no timeline for the evacuation order  to be lifted.

Paynton says in the meantime,  there is work being done to  prepare the community for the day when  folks can  return,  including the development  of a “Resiliency  Centre”  where a number of organizations will be located to assist any returnee should they need it.

“Right now I would say we are ready for re-entry” says Paynton “but being ready and being in a place that is safe for re-entry  are two different things.”

Vice Chair of the  Cariboo Regional District  John Massier, says  it all depends on getting the word from  the BC Wildfire Service on when they  think it would be safe  for  people to return home “We are in a bit of a holding pattern  right now,  waiting for favourable weather.”

The forecast is less than favourable,  with  more hot dry  conditions, lightning  and gusty  winds  expected  for the next couple of days.  The B.C. Wildfire  Service  said earlier today  the  combination  will likely   mean  new fires in the region, and  could change the behaviour of the  existing  fires.

Cariboo North  MP Todd Doherty  was emotional  as he   talked  about his recent tour of the  region.  “I was shocked” said Doherty  as he spoke of his drive west  of Williams Lake,  describing  mile after mile of charred ground  “It’s a moonscape.”  Yet,  the resiliency of the  Cariboo people cannot be discounted said Doherty,  who  said despite losing  ranchland,  losing property,  losing  herds, “They are there to fight another day.”

Doherty  said  while he knows  the evacuees  want  desperately  to go home,   it is just not safe to do so.


Every step of the way… yes, beside you…. but now it is time for something more effective.

Sunrise tomorrow…. rain dance…. the old way.


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