Direction of evacuation alerts not clear just yet: Deputy CAO

Wildfire near Mile 77 of the Alaska Highway last spring/Photo: BC Wildfire Service

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — There’s no indication just yet on whether or not evacuation alerts will be lifted, or full evacuation orders will be issued, says the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of the Peace River Regional District.

Shannon Anderson, filling in for PRRD’s CAO Chris Cvik today, says it’s still too early to tell.

“We’re in contact with the Wildfire Management Branch a couple of times a day, and they provide those recommendations,” he said.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Executive Officer Ian Lightbody with Emergency Management BC said that 325 residences were affected by the alerts — which means 325 homes, and not necessarily 325 people.

While the alerts in place don’t mean people have to vacate their homes just yet, Anderson stressed that people should be ready to if an order comes in.

“We want to make sure that if they do get an alert, they should check the map, have a look at it — make sure whether you’re inside that alert are or not … Then, you should be making plans,” he said.

Necessary items, like eye glasses, medication and documents should be gathered and in a safe place to be grabbed if an order is issued. Anderson also urges families to have a plan if they need to evacuate, and if they will be out of their homes longer than 72 hours.

Information on where people can report to, should an evacuation order come through, will be established and distributed to affected residents.

Right now, there are six orders in place in the area, near Mile 80, Cecil Lake, Siphon Creek, Doig River First Nation, Blueberry River First Nation, and Beatton Airport Road.