Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)

Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)

Regional wildfires prompt city of Williams Lake to press for provincial state of emergency

The city joins Cariboo Chilcotin MLA, CRD and 100 Mile House in calling for declaration

The City of Williams Lake is adding its voice to other regional governments in urging the province to declare a state of emergency due to wildfires.

“Declaring a provincial state of emergency helps ensure that communities in need of resources have the means to assist the response efforts and support those who are displaced and affected by the fires,” said Mayor Walt Cobb in a press release Friday night, July 16. “With the hot, dry weather continuing, we must be prepared to hit these fires hard and get the situation under control the best we can.”

The city activated its EOC Cente July 14 to monitor the fire situation regionally and to also play a supportive role to other communities in the area facing wildfires, such as the 100 Mile House, Anahim Lake and Kleena Kleene areas . As of July 19 Williams Lake does not have any wildfires close to the city, however, it has been receiving and supporting evacuees.

Read More: Flat Lake fire grows to 15,838 hectares, jumps guard

The Cariboo Regional District, District of 100 Mile and Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson were among those who have already been urging the province to declare a provincial state of emergency.

Last week the provincial government said it will not be declaring a state of emergency in B.C., despite those calls to do so.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson said he called on Premier John Horgan to declare a B.C. state of emergency earlier this month in light of the dozens of wildfires in the region.

“The reason I’m calling for the state of emergency is that we can get more resources, we can get federal help,” Doerkson told Black Press Media July 5. “Let’s not go this alone. Let’s use every resource we can.”

In a statement that same day, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said the province would not be declaring a state of emergency at this time, noting “all necessary and requested resources” had already been deployed to the affected areas.

The City of Williams Lake will continue to monitor the situation from its Emergency Operations Centre and will provide updates as they are available, noted the city.

– with files from Melissa Smalley

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B.C. Wildfires 2021Williams Lake