Williams Lake Still Standing
Prince George, B.C. – The mayor of Williams Lake says the wildfires threatening his community did not enter the city overnight and officials are planning to update the situation a bit later this morning.
Mayor Walt Cobb tells 250 News that groups looking after last night’s evacuation of his city held a conference call this morning to discuss that aspect “but we haven’t heard anything new on the fire other than we’re supposed to get another wind storm in here this afternoon.”
Regarding the evacuation Cobb says “there’s nobody left in town, we’re clear, it went really well. Apparently they had some incidents along the road but the road was open to Prince George a big part of the night. They kept monitoring it and they started directing traffic to Prince George.”
He could not say why traffic was suddenly directed to Prince George but says “my son actually manages a bus line and they event tried to turn the buses that were going to Kamloops at Little Fort but those people had been driving for 15 hours and he turned them around and said you go to Kamloops. You’re not going to go another however many hours it is from Little Fort to Prince George. I don’t know, it was a communications issue, that’s all I can say.”
“Kamloops didn’t get nearly as many (evacuees) as they thought they would but it was 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning so some people may have just pulled over to the side of the road and slept. They figure they may have an onslaught of registrations today. Mayor Cobb says perhaps a quarter of the evacuees leaving Williams Lake under the evacuation order had campers or RVs “so a lot of the people aren’t going to need accommodations.”
On the proximity of fires to his city the mayor says he is awaiting information from the BC Wildfire Service and the Cariboo Regional District. “They’re doing an assessment, they’re out travelling now to see (but) the fires did NOT come into the city limits so we have no damage within the city.”
Then with a gleeful exclamation Mayor Cobb said “guess what, it’s raining now! It just started as I am talking to you.” he hopes it pours.
There were some comments at last night’s town hall meeting of people in Williams Lake who are holding out and refusing to leave their homes. Mayor Cobb says there are still some who won’t leave this morning. “Oh there always is, there always is. Actually I’ve seen a few vehicles driving around but ya, I’m sure there are people that stayed around.”
He says that situation was discussed during this morning’s conference call “and the RCMP will do another check to see what they can find that have not gone because if things do get worse, and the fire does come into town, they will do another check and may sure they give them the notice one more time. They can’t force them out but they will do everything they can to try and convince them to leave.”
He says updated information from fire authorities is expected during a 10 am meeting today, and that information will be made available on the Cariboo Regional District website.
Mayor Cobb says he got to bed around 3 this morning and was up at 6:30. “You run on adrenaline, I guess once that adrenaline rush is gone we’ll probably all die and go and have 24 hours’ sleep.”