An evacuation order in the Anahim Peak area of the west Chilcotin region has been downgraded this week after recent rainfall and cooler temperatures in the area.
The order, which had been issued on July 15, 2023, at 8:15 p.m., has been downgraded to an alert by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and residents are being allowed to return to the area.
The CRD is advising those returning to follow the Guide to Re-Entry After an Evacuation and to watch for livestock and wildlife on roads, as many animals have been displaced by fires.
Residents should also be aware there may be danger trees in wildfire-affected areas.
While danger trees on Crown land are expected to be dealt with by BC Wildfire Service danger tree fallers, home owners or private landowners are recommended to work with insurance agencies to have trees on their properties assessed by qualified arborists.
Wildfires remain active and firefighting activities continue in the area. It is important for residents to stay out of active wildfire areas. Interfering in an active fire area will result in crews ceasing ground and air operations potentially endangering nearby properties.
Since these areas remain on evacuation alert, residents must be prepared in case the area receives a future evacuation order on short notice. Local governments may not have time to go door-to-door should a new evacuation order be issued. Residents under an evacuation alert should:
Fill the fuel tank of personal vehicles before returning to the area.
Bring a minimum of three days of food and essential supplies (e.g. medications, pet supplies) with you as local grocery stores may not yet have adequate stock.
Have a plan to transport all family members should the area be brought under evacuation order.
Keep the fuel tanks of personal vehicles full in case a new order is issued.
Keep essential items readily available for a quick departure, including medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc).
Ensure that any dependents or pets are prepared for departure.
Prepare to move pets and livestock to a safe area.
Ensure that you have accommodation options for your family, if possible. A reception centre will be made available again if required.
Check with your insurer to determine what may be available to you if you are evacuated – homeowner or tenant insurance may provide greater support than the Emergency Support Services program.
Self-register for emergency support services on the Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool at https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
Monitor reliable news sources for evacuation order information and the CRD’s channels on Facebook and cariboord.ca. Further information will be issued as it becomes available.
It is also important to note that air quality may remain poor as a result of smoke from nearby fire activity. Those with respiratory issues, small children and the elderly should consider this before they choose to return to the area.
Residents returning to the area are encouraged to register for the Cariboo Chilcotin Emergency Notification System to receive a text, call or email regarding evacuation alerts and orders: cariboord.ca/CRDEmergsignup
For Cariboo Regional District information, please call the CRD’s emergency information line at 1-866-759-4977 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily).