An evacuation alert has been issued for the entire city of Williams Lake due to potential weather events forecasted for Wednesday.
“This predicted weather has the potential to push fires from the west of Williams Lake towards the city at a rapid pace,” the city said in a statement released Monday evening. “At this time the alert is precautionary but it is important to give residents ample warning to allow everyone to make all necessary preparations.”
Williams Lake CAO Milo McDonald said he did not expect the evacuation alert to turn into an evacuation order. At least 20,000 people are currently under evacuation orders or alerts in the Cariboo Regional District.
“I’m fairly confident we won’t see that for the City of Williams Lake tonight,” said McDonald. “The temperatures are low, the wind is low, the humidity is slightly higher as a result of some precipitation. [But] anything is possible.”
However, officials are concerned that the forecast could change in the coming days.
“The impending weather forecasts suggest that we’re going to get an increase in winds and the weather is not going to be in our favour starting on Wednesday,” said Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond.”
The city offered the following to prepare for evacuation:
• Pack your identification, clothing and medications for at least three days
• Alert family and loved ones of the situation, give them the location of the reception centre so they can locate you in the event of an evacuation
• Make arrangements for your pets
• More info on planning go to www.williamslake.ca and click on Emergency Planning for information and links.
An EVACUATION ALERT is a notification of POTENTIAL danger that might arise.
An evacuation alert does not mean you have to evacuate; rather, you should be prepared to evacuate with very short notice. The reason evacuation alerts are issued is to notify residents of the potential for loss of life from unstable fire conditions.
This alert may be followed by an order to evacuate and when an evacuation order is issued you must leave your home immediately.
Please monitor your local radio station for situation updates.
An emergency reception centre has been established at Lake City Secondary (Carson Campus) and any persons self-evacuating should report to this centre.
Any person who wishes to evacuate now but are physically unable to do so should call 250-392-2364 and assistance will be arranged.
Should the status change, the public will be notified immediately through all means possible and everyone is encouraged to monitor local radio stations, legitimate social media sites, as well as the City of Williams Lake Facebook page, Twitter and website.
For information of an urgent nature please call 250-392-2364 or 250-392-2365.
So far about 14,000 people have been evacuated in the province including roughly 2,000 people who were evacuated from 100 Mile House Sunday evening.
WATCH: Williams Lake is under an evacuation alert