An Evacuation Order has been issued for the Bearhole Lake Wildfire (G72178), in Electoral Area D, for the community of Kelly Lake, as described below:
- 4 km West of the Alberta border
- 5 km North of Kelly Lake until 5km South of Kelly Lake
The Evacuation Order has been issued for the Community of Kelly Lake due to immediate danger to life, safety, and health due to wildfire. Members of the RCMP, Search and Rescue and other applicable agencies will be expediting this action.
You Must Leave the Area Immediately.
- Due to heavy smoke in the area it is highly recommended to evacuate through the following route:
- Highway 671 to Range Road 131
- North to Highway 43
- OR Highway 52 East
- North to BC Highway 2
- Register at a Reception/Registration Centre to access Emergency Support Services (assistance with lodging & food) at the Reception Centre at the City of Dawson Creek City Hall, 10105 12A Street, Dawson Creek, BC. The Registration Centre at Beaverlodge Community Centre is now closed.
*** note that anyone who evacuates to Alberta will need to pay for the expenses out of pocket and may or may not be reimbursed at a later date. Persons evacuating to Dawson Creek will be provided with lodging, food vouchers and incidentals. It is critical that all evacuees register at one of the centers.***
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
- Please visit prrd.bc.ca and bcwildfire.ca regularly for current information.
- If you need transportation assistance from the area, advise the person providing this notice or call 1-800-670-7773.
- Shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Close gates (latch) but do not lock.
- Gather your family and, if you have room, take a neighbour or someone needing transportation. Do not use more vehicles then you have to.
- Take critical items (medicine, purse, wallet, cell & charger and keys) only if they are immediately available. Take pets in pet kennels or on leash.
- Do not use the telephone unless you need emergency service.
WHY THE EVACUATION ORDER:
BC Wildfire Services (BCWFS) recommendation of Order is due to current and expected fire growth in the next 72hrs. Currently the rate of spread and fire behavior with the 30km winds and gusts to 70km is challenging resources, with this potential, BCWFS is expecting the fire to reach Highway 52 and possibly cross over the next few hours.
Over the last 24 hours the fire has grown from 1600ha to about 5200ha with the winds yesterday and is continuing to grow. Today, September 4, it is expected that the winds will reach up to 70km/h which would increase the fires rate of spread (30m/minute minimum) and grow substantially, this would be beyond the ability to evacuate people safely, if at all. Currently the head of the fire is less than 18km from the community of Kelly Lake, with the anticipated winds and expected fire growth this fire has the potential to be on their doorstep in a very short timeframe.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE PUBLIC:
If you’ve been placed under an Evacuation Order, that means you are advised to leave the area for your own safety and for the health and safety of firefighters. Receiving an Evacuation Order can be an unsettling and emotional experience. We understand that you may be reluctant to leave your home and community. However, choosing to remain in an area that is under an Evacuation Order puts yourself, your family, and first responders in danger. It’s not worth the risk.
People who remain in an area that’s under an Evacuation Order may impede the ability of fire crews to fight a wildfire, because crews may be forced to stop fighting the fire to keep you out of harm’s way. People who decide to “wait and see” if they need to evacuate an area may find their escape route blocked by fallen trees or abandoned vehicles, and once familiar landmarks may be blanketed in thick smoke.
Should you choose to disregard an evacuation order, you may be in danger even if you can’t see the wildfire, since it can spread quickly when embers are blown ahead of the fire by wind. These embers can be carried for kilometres and start new fires between you and safety. Wildfire activity is heavily impacted by weather conditions, which means that fire activity can increase suddenly and rapidly due to wind, heat and dryness. The wildfire itself can contribute to these conditions. Thick smoke can obscure landmarks, making it dangerous to travel or work outside. In addition, a lack of electricity can affect your ability to get fuel and supply water.
A wildfire can be relentless. Stress and sleep deprivation over several days can decrease your alertness and impact your ability to think clearly. This can impair decision-making, slow your reaction time, and increase the likelihood that you’ll make mistakes. Sheltering in a home or other structure is no guarantee that you’ll be safe from an approaching wildfire. For example, Australia’s 2009 Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission determined that two-thirds of wildfire-related fatalities on that country’s “Black Saturday” (Feb. 7, 2009) occurred in homes. Of the 173 fatalities that day, 113 people were in their homes, 27 died outside but near their homes, seven died in other buildings, 11 died in vehicles, 10 died near vehicles or on roads, and five died at locations away from fires.
Have you signed up for North East BC Emergency alerts yet? It takes minutes and can be crucial in an emergency. Download the app by searching ‘Everbridge’ wherever you get your apps, or register online at nebcalerts.com