B.C. and the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc have partnered together to provide accommodations for evacuees, beginning next week.
The province said Thursday (Aug. 10) that the proactive measure will provide essential support and relief to people who need to evacuate from their homes on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc land due to wildfires. The temporary accommodation will be in the Rayleigh neighbourhood of Kamloops.
It’s expected to be operational by Wednesday, Aug. 16, and will be managed by the Emergency Management Ministry. It will accommodate up to 300 people.
South of Kamloops, the Ross Moore Lake wildfire is more than 7,000 hectares. It was discovered July 21.
The lightning-strike caused fire continues to burn out of control.
The evacuation order and alert in place since Friday, July 28 remains in effect.
Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma noted that evacuating is difficult and stressful.
“The last thing evacuees should have to worry about is whether they will have a safe place to stay.”
B.C. is currently in its peak tourism season, and hotel room availability is limited. The evacuation site is meant to serve as a a supplementary resource.
During a provincial update on the wildfires, drought and upcoming heat wave Thursday, Ma said B.C. is working with communities across the province to set up these types of lodging facilities.
“ideally, none of them would ever have to be used. But it is better for us to be prepared than to be surprised by a mass evacuation, especially when we know that hotel accommodations and other commercial accommodations are limited in a lot of areas because of tourism.”
The province notes that it has been closely working with First Nations and local authorities to prepare for evacuations in several areas.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir said the site will also provide essential culturally safe support to Indigenous Peoples who have been forced from their home communities.
”In the face of the ever-growing threat of wildfires, our community members recognize the significance of being proactive and ready to face any challenge that may arise.”
Some First Nations and local authorities also offer online registration for Emergency Support Services. People are encouraged to pre-register. To sign-up for Evacuee Registration and Assistance, visit ess.gov.bc.ca.
– With files from Jordy Cunningham