Wildfires: General Information on Evacuation Alerts and Orders

Stefanie Poisson

For release July 13th 2017 @ 10:30pm

Council members and staff of the District of Clearwater attended the public information meeting held this evening at Clearwater Secondary School hosted by the Thompson Nicola Regional District regarding the current wildfire situation. It was very well attended by the public as well as members of the stakeholders involved in fighting the fires. We will provide a write up with the most important information tomorrow. You can also watch the full meeting on the TNRD Facebook page.

One item we would like to address tonight: There appears to be a lot of confusion around Evacuation Alerts and Orders. Here is how it works if it comes to it and the notices are for the community of Clearwater within the municipal boundaries – Mayor Harwood would sign an Evacuation Alert.  Here’s the important part – even though the notification will be posted online on the District of Clearwater website and Facebook page, it is important to understand the RCMP and likely accompanied by members of the Wells Gray Search and Rescue Team (both in official uniform) will go door to door to hand deliver the notice and take note of who is home.  This is “providing” there is time to do so. If you are unsure of the person knocking at your door, ask them for their ID or call the local RCMP detachment (250.674.2237) to verify the information. Please remember, you do not have to rely on the internet to find out about it.

Upon receiving an alert, you should pack items that are important to you (e.g passport, marriage licence, photo albums) as well as clothing, food, water and make sure your vehicle is fueled up and ready to go. Don’t delay getting prepared as the Evacuation Order can be follow an alert at anytime.

The Evacuation Order is also signed by the Mayor Harwood and issued by the District of Clearwater if the situation is within the municipal boundaries. The same steps apply as the evacuation alert – it will be posted online and hand delivered by the RCMP and assistance from Search and Rescue. After you received the Order you are expected to leave your home immediately. Make sure when you close the doors and windows, shut off the water, unplug electrical items, unhook gas/ propane and leave the front light on.

The RCMP will close the evacuated area and re-entry will not be allowed. The Evacuation Order will direct you to the designated Reception Centre that will welcome you. The Emergency Social Services (ESS) volunteers will register you to get assistance with food and lodging for the first 72 hours.

If you have alternative plans and would rather stay with a relative, please make sure to check in with a Reception Centre or to phone into the Red Cross to register for services after the initial 72 hours and to participate in the family reunification program.  Please note if you voluntarily leave during an Evacuation Alert you do not qualify for services but are still asked to register with ESS so you whereabouts can be recorded.  Again, even though you will be notified face to face by an official from the RCMP and or Search& Rescue team in the event of an evacuation alert and order, we stress that you follow the our website and Facebook, for the latest most accurate information.

To stay updated on the wildfire situation, please subscribe to our website, follow the newsfeed on our website, like our Facebook page and also keep an eye on www.bcwildfire.ca, for residents that live outside the District of Clearwater boundaries visit www.tnrd.ca and for updates on road conditions and closures check www.drivebc.ca. For questions feel free to call the DOC office at 250.674.2257 during office hours (8.30am-4.30pm) or the TNRD Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) call 1.866.377.7188 from 8.30am-9.30pm. All these outlets are updated regularly with reliable information directly from the source.

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