Williams Lake Evacuees Heading to Kamloops
Prince George, B.C. – Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb says now that an Evacuation Order has been issued for his city, the residents who have remained there are being told to head to Kamloops.
Mayor Cobb tells 250 News that although the earlier expectation was that residents would head to Prince George in the event of an order “they’re going to Kamloops now because they can’t get through north and the decision was made, because of the distance, that they made arrangements instead to go to Kamloops” via Highway 24 to Little Fort and then down Highway 5.
Asked why they wouldn’t still be heading up Highway 5, then along Highway 16 to Prince George, Cobb says “well I’m told that there’s no gas stations up that way. That’s what I’m told, that they didn’t think they could get fuel for the buses. At this stage they’re headed to Kamloops. That was the last that was signed on the evacuation order, yes.”
As far as the number of evacuees goes Mayor Cobb says the city has about 11,000 residents “but a number of them already left, over 5,000 of them already registered that have left. So say maybe 3,000 left.”
The mayor says he is staying put in Williams Lake. “Yes, I’ve taken my motorhome over to the fire hall and I will be staying there unless things get really, really bad. As long as there’s firefighters here who will need support I will be here.”
Mayor Cobb says “the fire that’s nearest us is the one that came up White Lake across the Rudy Johnson bridge, and that’s the issue. The thought was it would come up the river valley and come into town but it didn’t, it went over the hill and crossed the highway. That’s the reason you’re not going north now because it crossed the highway and the highway is closed.”
“That is right at Soda Creek, where the interpretive sign is. We haven’t be able to go north now for about three hours.”
Right then the mayor hollered at a couple of guys walking down the street. “Hey guys, there’s an evacuation order and you should get on the bus and get out of town.”
An update meeting is taking place at 8 o’clock tonight at UNBC’s Canfor Theatre. Mayor Cobb says Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond is still in Williams Lake but may participate in the update by conference call or some similar means.