VIDEO: Chilliwack prepares for Williams Lake fire evacuees

Volunteers worked through the night to prepare Chilliwack secondary for people fleeing a wildfire in the north.

The cots are empty and the hallways quiet at Chilliwack secondary school as volunteers await the arrival of wildfire evacuees from Williams Lake.

Emergency service volunteers had arrived at the school Saturday evening following news that people from the city, who had been on evacuation alert for days, were now ordered to leave.

Nearly 30,000 people are affected by the evacuation. They headed south in a long, slow moving convoy to reception centres in Kamloops. Behind them, a wildfire which has already consumed at least 9,400 hectares of forest, was being fanned by fresh winds. It cut off escape to the north, leaving highway 97 and 24 the only routes south.

Once the Kamloops centres are full, they’ll continue on to Chilliwack.

The first evacuees are expected sometime this morning. They’ll find a reception centre where they can register online and alert friends and family of their whereabouts, and access emergency support. Cots have been set up in the gymnasium, and quiet areas set aside for families.

Chris Wilson, emergency program co-ordinator for the City of Chilliwack, says volunteers have done a remarkable job, and he praised the Chilliwack school district for accomodating the evacuation centre at CSS.

How to Help

People willing to offer accommodations for the evacuees have two options, says Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz. There is a Facebook group that people can access, or they can go to Chilliwack secondary and put their name on a list. If there is an opportunity to help, volunteers will contact them.

Gaetz says the immediate needs of the evacuees are being met. And while she undertstands the desire to help, material donations are not required. “Many don’t know the condition of their house or what they will need when they return home,” she says.

Instead, cash donations to the Red Cross remain the best way to help.

“Please continue to donate funds to the Red Cross, as this organization will be involved after the evacuees return home and assess their needs. Donations can be made in person on Monday to the Red Cross in Chilliwack at 9290 Mary St.”

People wanting to volunteer can also go Chilliwack secondary. Although Wilson says they currently have enough volunteers to meet current needs, people wanting to help can still register and may be called upon if required.

Watch theprogress.com for updates as they become available.

Just Posted

Volunteers risk their lives to save others

SAR training prepares them for the job

Many moving parts to economic development

Tourism is only part of the answer

Window art a sign of the season

B.C. artist paints windows across the province

Get all your stocking stuffers, and the stockings, too

Beta Sigma Phi Christmas Craft Sale returns

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

Police look for Alberta woman believed to be in Lower Mainland

Serenity Rosewell and Jazmine Sleva of Sylvan Lake have been reported missing

Can’t kill bears for eating honey

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows Farmers encouraged to use electric fencing

Stiff fine for B.C. man caught trafficking bear parts

A Cache Creek resident was charged after an undercover sting operation by conservation officers

Vandals pour fake blood on statues at B.C. church

Church members concerned about string of acts of vandalism and possible escalation

Man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found to appear in court

A rally will be held on the Vernon courthouse steps prior to Curtis Sagmoen’s appearance

Most Read