RCMP Lead Tactical Evacuation of Canim Lake Reserve
Prince George, B.C. – The aggressive spread of wildfires burning in the Cariboo prompted RCMP-led evacuations in several areas over the weekend.
The Assistant Deputy Minister with Emergency Management BC, Robert Turner, says in the wake of the issuance of a new evacuation order in the Canim Lake area, the RCMP held a co-ordinated tactical evacuation of the Canim Lake First Nations that ran into Saturday evening.
BC RCMP Director of Communications Dawn Roberts says Saturday night “was a busy night for the RCMP and our partners due to wildfire activity. The new fires in Canim Lake, Hawkins Lake and the Canim Reserve were seen by our members in 100 Mile House who made the tactical decision to conduct a series of evacuations in that area prior to formal orders being issued.”
Roberts says she is not aware if the people on the reserve were under an alert or order but “the officers did see the new fire starts (from lightning strikes) and took it upon themselves, based on the proximity, to move (people). I understand there were at least a couple dozen properties and locations that they were addressing.”
She says local Search and Rescue teams assisted with the evacuations of several homes there and at Alexis Creek. As well late Saturday night the increase in fire behaviour forced police to move a number of check points in the Quesnel and Alexis Creek areas due to the fire threat. Those checks points are being re-established by members of the Canadian Forces in alternate locations, based on risk.
Roberts says all of the evacuations were completed without any injuries or challenges. She also says the Alexis Creek RCMP detachment has taken steps to remove items from vacated buildings. “Current fire conditions and highway closures may affect the ability for essential services to return to those areas. Officers are also noting that there’s no running water in that community.”
She says fire activity on the north flank of the south shores of Green Lake did present challenges over the weekend. “Some people who were subject to evacuation orders did not leave or then did try to leave as they were dealing with structure fires. This did hamper emergency services but we were able to get back in and assist with those evacuations.”
“Once again I want to stress the importance of respecting evacuation orders and leaving when requested to do so.” She says you can put yourself, your neighbours and first responders in harm’s way by balking at leaving.