Kamloops may have had to find more cots upon the arrival of Williams Lake,
Calling this year’s wildfire season “unprecedented” in B.C. history, the province’s outgoing minister responsible for emergency management said he is praying Mother Nature gives the tinder-dry Interior a break.
“We’ve never had a season where we’ve had this many fires this close to communities,” Kamloops South-Thompson MLA Todd Stone told reporters outside Sandman Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Behind him, lineups of evacuees from the Williams Lake area stood waiting to be registered and, potentially, receive access to one of about 500 cots set up inside the arena.
Williams Lake’s 10,700 residents were placed on an evacuation order early Saturday evening.
While about half of the city’s residents had left earlier, when an evacuation alert was imposed, Stone said he believed 75 per cent of the remaining residents had arrived in Kamloops by 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The remaining 25 per cent are believed to have travelled to Prince George via a long highways 97, 25, 5 North route.
As emergency-management officials work to find new space in the Tournament Capital for large-scale temporary lodging, Stone said the city is almost full.
“Our capacity is beginning to get a bit challenged,” he said, noting additional centres have been set up in Vernon, Kelowna, Chilliwack and Surrey. “If you are able to go to one of those other centres, that would be very much appreciated.”
But, Stone said, no evacuees will be turned away from Kamloops.
“Anyone who comes to Kamloops will be supported,” he said.