Dismantling of the RCMP Wildfire Command Post in Williams Lake is underway and should be completed by next week, said RCMP Insp. Dave Hall, RCMP Provincial Major Crimes Unit, who has been operations officer of the post during his time of deployment.
“Over the weekend and into next week we will be demobilizing all our people who have come from across the province to assist here,” Hall said Wednesday. “We are transporting officers, vehicles and equipment to 100 Mile House and will continue to support fire operations in the 100 Mile and Elephant Hill fire areas.”
Throughout July, August and September, the RCMP have done daily assessments to determine where they need to send people, based on existing evacuation orders and alerts, Hall explained.
“Over the last week or so, we’ve seen a significant down-surge in the number of alerts effecting communities in this area so we no longer need to hub our resources here.”
While the officers were in Williams Lake and the surrounding communities, the support they received from the Cariboo Regional District, the City of Williams Lake, the Canadian Armed Forces and residents did not go unnoticed, Hall added.
“People were evacuated away from their homes, many of them for a month or more, yet despite that they showed such a willingness to extend their support to us,” Hall said. “We have members that come from communities where operationally it is very high tempo and they see a lot of bad every day. To come here, where they’ve been able to connect with a community in a very positive way is refreshing. In a way it’s rejuvenated them as officers.”
Initially the RCMP command post was set up on Sunday, July 9 in the parking lot at the Williams Lake Provincial Courthouse on Borland Street across from the RCMP detachment.
After the evacuation order was rescinded for the city on July 27, the command post was relocated to the former Lake City Ford site on Oliver Street.
“We had 24/7 operations,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Ausmus who was in Williams Lake this week for his second rotation as site commander at the command post.