Return of Williams Lake residents aids Clinton evacuees

By Jill Sperling
July 31, 2017 - 12:28pm Updated: August 1, 2017 - 8:58am

KAMLOOPS — The Elephant Hill fire is burning at a size of more than 78,000 hectares as it moves closer to populated areas. 

The fire's rapid growth and behaviour triggered new evacuation orders on Saturday, July 31. 

Clinton, 70 Mile House, and South Green Lake were among the communities emptied as the fire grew on its north and west sides. 

Evacuees were instructed to take Highway 24 to Kamloops, where they were checked into the Emergency Reception Centre at the Sandman Centre. 

 

"We were quite fortunate that we had a number of evacuees that had left that morning actually from Williams Lake," said Debbie Sell, information officer with the Emergency Operations Centre. "We had a number of buses that had taken the residents back to Williams Lake, so that had relieved some of the pressure on the reception centre."

In addition to making space at the Reception Centre, the return of Williams Lake residents by bus actually assisted with the Clinton evacuation.

"As luck would have it as well, we had those buses on the way back down from Williams Lake at the time that we needed to issue the evacuation order for the village of Clinton," Sell said, "so we diverted them to the village of Clinton so that they could stop and pick any residents up that needed transportation."

According to Sell, around 650 residents from Clinton were forced to leave their fire threatened community, and 986 properties outside of Clinton were impacted. 

Residents from the area had been on evacuation alert for two weeks.

A meeting for evacuees impacted by the Elephant Hill fire is scheduled to take place at 6 tonight (July 31) at Sagebrush Theatre.

 

More than 300 buildings destroyed by persistent wildfires across B.C.

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