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

Ban on retail pot in Chilliwack until legalization comes into effect

City ready to draft a special zone for marijuana retail operations

Horses and science combine for new program at CSS

‘I get to do something I’m passionate about,’ says Chilliwack equine studies student

Automatic sprinkler system snuffs out fire at Chilliwack care facility

Firefighters highly recommend installing similar systems in homes to prevent serious damage

Clippers out-skate Chiefs for ninth win in a row

The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs by a 4-1 score Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena

Chilliwack is ready for a little more snow

City Operations crews have been applying brine to Chilliwack roads in preparation for more snow

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read