(With files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Fort St. John have opened their doors for wildfire evacuees in Tumbler Ridge.
The majority of the community’s 24 hundred residents evacuated yesterday (Thursday) due to an aggressive wildfire.
As a result, an Evacuation Order was issued by the Peace River Regional District and the province.
However, Tumbler Ridge Mayor, Darryl Krakowka told Vista Radio residents have been calm through the whole process having done it before.
“In 2006, the community was evacuated due to the Hourglass Creek wildfire and so, some of those residents are still with the community and that helped a lot too knowing some of them are still in our community and have gone through it before. People were very vigilant seeing what is going on in the Peace River Regional District and down in Alberta near Grande Prairie too.”
Krakowka added some people have been asked to seek shelter as far north as Fort St. John (Pomeroy Sport Centre) after Chetwynd and Dawson Creek quickly found themselves at capacity.
“Their hotel rooms filled up (Chetwynd) and then Dawson Creek were the first ones to open up an Emergency Reception Centre and they filled up so fast last night (Thursday) that they were sending people to Fort St. John, which also opened up their reception and ESS services.”
“We do have some people who made the choice to stay behind – I am not sure of that number but the majority of residents did leave the community for one of those three municipalities.”
Krakowka mentioned the only way out of Tumbler Ridge is through Highway 29 via Chetwynd. Highway 52 North is currently compromised due to the West Kiskatinaw River wildfire.