The Gustafsen Forest Fire, west of 100 Mile House, continues to grow. An evacuation order was issued for 2050 properties about 200 kilometers northwest of Kamloops.
District Director Al Richmond said that changes in wind direction and the threat of heavy smoke caused the Cariboo Regional District to order the evacuation of people between 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House.
One hundred and twenty firefighters are currently working on the construction of ramparts on the eastern flank of the fire, the closest to the evacuated communities. The fire spread over an area of 1500 hectares on Friday at 3 pm local time. Nearly 607 other Lac La Hache residences are on alert and must be ready to evacuate.
Taking into account the logistical challenges of evacuating [so many], we must begin the process now, secure the community and make sure everyone is safe, rather than having to do that tonight.
The province’s forest fire department reported 60 new fires on Friday.
All the residents of Cache Creek and Ashcroft , villages located more than 100 kilometers from 100 Mile House, were also evacuated. A state of emergency has been declared. The fire has gone from 50 to 700 hectares in just a few hours.
Evacuations since Thursday evening
The evacuation order is added to that of Thursday evening. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had done door-to-door at that time to order the residents of 33 properties to leave immediately.
The local fire department has placed watering devices around several of the properties evacuated on Thursday in order to keep the structures moist and prevent them from catching fire.
— Andy Witteman (@CNLastro) July 7, 2017
Two evacuee emergency centers were opened, one at the 100 Mile House Rink and the other at the Ramada Inn in Williams Lake. Evacuees are encouraged to register so their families can know they are safe.
Temporary accommodations were also introduced in the Williams Lake High School and 100 Mile House.
Fire departments believe that the fire was triggered by human activity.
The entire Cariboo Regional District has been hit by lightning in a multitude of places. Fires are being reported faster than they can be written down – all over the Cariboo. If you are told to evacuate from your property, please leave immediately. These fires are extremely volatile. Response resources are stretched to the limit. All residents north of 105 Mile that are evacuated from their homes should report to the reception centre at the Ramada Inn in Williams Lake. Evacuees in and south of 105 Mile report to the reception centre in 100 Mile House at the Curling Club.