The Cariboo Regional District announced Wednesday that residents are allowed to return to portions of the Wildwood area near Williams Lake.
The areas that have been changed from an evacuation order to an evacuation alert include only portions of the Wildwood community, and the areas surrounding Wildwood remain under evacuation orders, which were amended at the same time.
“Residents are returning to an area that has been profoundly affected by wildfire,” states the CRD.
“Wildfires remain active and firefighting activities continue in the area. It is important for residents to stay out of active wildfire areas. Security is in place for surrounding areas. Interfering in an active fire area will result in crews ceasing ground and air operations potentially endangering nearby properties.”
Since the area remains on evacuation alert, residents must be prepared in case the area receives a future evacuation order on short notice. Local governments may not have time to go door-to-door should a new evacuation order be issued.
Anyone choosing to return to the area should ensure that they return with basic necessities including food and prescriptions for up to seven days as well as a full tank of gas.
The Wildwood Transfer Station is accessible.
Both the south and north routes into Williams Lake along Highway 97 are open.
A resiliency centre at Boitanio Mall is available in Williams Lake to provide information and programs of support for wildfire evacuees from 8am to 8pm. Red Cross services are available to anyone returning to the area that requires assistance. The Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-863-6582. Contact the Resiliency Centre at 250-305-0226.
Group lodging through Emergency Social Services (ESS) will not be available in Williams Lake.
“For rural properties that have been impacted by wildfire, residents should be aware there may be danger trees in wildfire affected areas,” said the CRD. “Home owners and private land owners are recommended to work with an insurance agency to have an assessment done by a qualified arborist on their private property.”
Remaining On Evacuation Alert
Since the area remains on evacuation alert, residents should remain prepared for an evacuation by:
- Having a plan to transport all family members or co-workers outside the area, should the area be brought back under evacuation order.
- Keeping essential items readily available for a quick departure, including medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc).
- Ensuring that any dependents are prepared for departure.
- Ensuring that pets and livestock remain in a safe area.
- Ensuring that you have accommodation options for your family, if possible. A Reception Centre will be made available again if required.
- Monitoring reliable news sources for evacuation order information. Further information will be issued as it becomes available.