Canada 'Smoke was billowing in behind us': B.C. wildfire evacuees arriving in Kamloops

21:05  16 july  2017
21:05  16 july  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

B.C. wildfires destroy buildings, force thousands to evacuate their homes

  B.C. wildfires destroy buildings, force thousands to evacuate their homes B.C. wildfires destroy buildings, force thousands to evacuate their homesJustine Hunse of the BC Wildfire Service said a blaze was burning across a seven-square-kilometre area outside Ashcroft, about 100 kilometres west of Kamloops.

"As we left, the smoke was billowing in behind us — yikes! It was a little intimidating," she said, adding that while she and her neighbours are tired, morale is high. Top News Headlines. ' Smoke was billowing in behind us ': B . C . wildfire evacuees arriving in Kamloops .

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A baby in a stroller was among the thousands lined up in Kamloops for assistance following the Williams Lake evacuation. © Tina Lovgreen/CBC A baby in a stroller was among the thousands lined up in Kamloops for assistance following the Williams Lake evacuation.

- Evacuation alerts and orders from Emergency Info BC

- Road closures and conditions from DriveBC

- Wildfires of note from B.C. Wildfire Service

- Air quality advisories from Environment Canada

Exhausted Williams Lake, B.C., residents are arriving in Kamloops after wildfires caused an evacuation order forcing them to navigate traffic-choked highways for hours.

About 24,000 people were affected by Saturday evening's evacuation order. Officials have said they believe about 60 per cent of residents have left so far.

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  $100M to help B.C. communities rebuild from fires KAMLOOPS, B.C. - British Columbia is making $100 million available to communities and residents affected by wildfires to help them rebuild. Outgoing Premier Christy Clark announced the fund today during a visit to Kamloops, where she met with emergency officials and families impacted by scores of out-of-control fires. She says the transition team for premier-designate John Horgan's incoming government has been briefed on the establishment of the fund.Horgan was to meet with evacuees in Kamloops and visit emergency operations centres that are dealing with what his team called the "worsening wildfire crisis.

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■ A driver passing through the Ashcroft area tweeted this photo showing heavy smoke billowing from the wildfire on July 7. (Theo Faber/Twitter/Canadian Kamloops already has thousands of evacuees using emergency services because of other . ' We lost everything' says B . C . wildfire evacuee 0:50.

Before the Williams Lake evacuation, the province estimated more than 17,400 evacuees had registered with the Canadian Red Cross, many making their way to evacuation centres set up in Prince George and Kamloops.

Ruth Downes, carrying a single suitcase as she lined up for assistance at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District's evacuation centre in Kamloops Sunday morning, says she rode on a school bus all night after mustering with her neighbours.

"The roads were packed, but everyone has been very helpful," she said. "Everyone in the city was leaving. We moved very slowly but carefully."

Downes said she couldn't see any flames and didn't believe the city was in jeopardy from a wildfire that has been burning to the city's west for days, but she said the smoke in the air was unbearable.

Smoke at Kamloops airport disrupting flights

  Smoke at Kamloops airport disrupting flights Smoke from wildfires caused delays and a handful of cancellations at Kamloops airport Monday afternoon. “There are a number that have circled,” the airport’s managing director, Fred Legace said. “One has gone back to Vancouver, a couple may have to go back to Calgary and then try again. “The valley is really charged with smoke.” […]

University, said terrified evacuees arrived at a Kamloops reception centre with nothing, having "lost " We are looking at many weeks to come of a very challenging environment and public safety will Smoke from wildfires burning in central B . C . shrouds the north shore of Kamloops , B . C ., on

Wildfire evacuees McLean Rislund, 80, and June Rislund, 81, from Forest Grove near 100 Mile House, walk to an evacuation registration centre in Kamloops , B . C ., on Monday. He said four tonnes of supplies arrived from Fort McMurray including wrapped and sealed water, Gatorade and baby supplies.

"As we left, the smoke was billowing in behind us — yikes! It was a little intimidating," she said, adding that while she and her neighbours are tired, morale is high.

29,000 people covered by order

Thousands of Williams Lake, B.C., residents and others were lined up Saturday night and Sunday morning in Kamloops seeking aid after fleeing wildfires. © Tina Lovgreen/CBC Thousands of Williams Lake, B.C., residents and others were lined up Saturday night and Sunday morning in Kamloops seeking aid after fleeing wildfires.

Some 29,000 people overall are covered by evacuation orders in the Cariboo region. Regional district chair Al Richmond says despite the number of people, there were no major incidents on the evacuation route.

He estimates the journey to Kamloops, which normally takes about two hours, could have taken nine for some people as between 7,000 and 8,000 left town last night.

"The convoy was moving slowly, but the key is they were moving safely," Richmond said. "There's no immediate danger, as far as we know, to the City of Williams Lake. Our main concern was getting people out safely last night before other access to the south got cut off."

Thousands of fire evacuees find comfort in Kamloops

  Thousands of fire evacuees find comfort in Kamloops Thousands of Williams Lake’s wildfire evacuees gathered Sunday at a hockey arena in Kamloops for registration and temporary lodging. The city of more than 10,000 people was placed under evacuation order early Saturday evening.“It was about quarter after six for me,” said Donna Pryor, who was lined up outside Sandman Centre on Sunday morning. “I got a phone call from a friend.”Williams Lake had been under an evacuation alert for days before the evacuation order was implemented.Pryor said she had been packed up for days, but did not want to leave until it was necessary.

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There are currently 220 wildfires burning in B . C ., 140 of which started on Friday, according to B . C . wildfire officials. " We went into Wal-Mart to pick up some things to carry on with and they asked us to contribute to the fire relief fund and I said we 're one of the victims, and the lady behind us offered

He says officials and police are looking for people still in town, and the RCMP can compel people to leave or even arrest them.

School buses from Williams Lake and the surrounding area arrived Saturday night and early Sunday morning in Kamloops. © Tina Lovgreen/CBC School buses from Williams Lake and the surrounding area arrived Saturday night and early Sunday morning in Kamloops.

He says anyone in need of emergency information can check out the CRD's emergency information Facebook page or call 1-800-585-9559.

Helicopter crashed Saturday

Fire information officer Navi Saini says across B.C. the wildfire situation remains "fluid," with significant growth and aggressive action from many of the province's 161 active fires.

"It's hard to say just how much each of those fires has grown," Saini said. "It's quite smoky."

The largest fire in B.C., she said, is the Ashcroft fire, which reached Loon Lake yesterday and prompted an evacuation order. That fire has grown to 40,000 hectares.

Saini also reported a helicopter had crashed while fighting a fire in the Chilcotin region Saturday.

She said the pilot was the only occupant of the helicopter at the time but would not comment on the pilot's condition until the family was notified.

Winds 'a big problem'

The B.C. Wildfire Service estimates at least 9,400 hectares of forest are burning in the Williams Lake area.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says a gusty cold front rolled through B.C.'s active fires Saturday night, creating strong winds.

The front stalled in the Central Interior, she said, and winds reached up to 60 km/h.

"The silver lining? Significantly cooler today, a good 10 degrees cooler for most of the forest fires," she said. "That should help, but the winds are a big problem for firefighters today."

While Sunday is predicted to be more humid, the forecast also calls for thunderstorms — and the possibility of dry lightning.

"We could be looking at new fire starts this afternoon," Wagstaffe said.

Staying behind: meet the people taking B.C.'s wildfire fight into their own hands .
Some British Columbians are staying behind in fire zones. Others are fighting the flames themselves.But despite having personally signed the largest evacuation order to date, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb has chosen to stay behind.

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