An evacuation alert has been issued by the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Thursday, May 18, for 257 parcels at Anahim Lake and Ulkatcho First Nation in the Chilcotin due to the Pelican Lake Area.
This alert area covers 28,211 hectares.
The Pelican Lake Fire is located seven kilometres southwest of the community of Anahim Lake and Ulkatcho First Nation. It doubled in size in a day since it was discovered May 17 and is now estimated to be 160 hectares. The fire is classified as out of control and suspected to be human-caused.
Ulkatcho First Nation resident Fred Cahoose said it was started on the “Beef Trail,” a main forest service road.
“The road is used lots by people who are going to a nearby falls which is flowing good now due to spring runoff,” Cahoose said.
The CRD issued the evacuation alert late Thursday night, at 9:15 p.m., which was followed a short time later by an Ulkatcho Band Council resolution supporting the evacuation alert of their entire territory, including Main Reserve, Old Ulkatcho, 21 Reserve, Towdystan, Fish Trap and 2-Mile.
The Ulkatcho First Nation Band also declared a State of Local Emergency.
No strangers to the threat of wildfires, the residents of Anahim Lake and the Ulkatcho First Nation were last placed on evacuation alert in July 2021, when fires blocked Highway 20 escape routes on both the east and west sides of the community. Vulnerable community members were transported out of the community by military helicopter at that time. No further evacuation was necessary.
This year the fire season is very early and temperatures are unseasonably hot.
In its evacuation alert, the CRD said that because of the potential danger to life and health, the alert was issued to prepare residents to evacuate premises or property should it be required.
The CRD said residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however they may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.
Upon notification of an ALERT, residents should be prepared for the evacuation order:
Have a plan to transport all family members or co-workers outside of the area, should the area be brought under evacuation order.
Keep essential items readily available for a quick departure; including medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc).
Ensure that any dependents or pets are prepared for departure.
Move pets and livestock to a safe area.
Ensure that you have accommodation options for your family, if possible. A Reception Centre will be made available if required.
In the event of an evacuation alert, do not turn off your natural gas. Visit FortisBC for information on being prepared in an emergency related to your natural gas connection.
Monitor reliable news sources for information on evacuation orders and locations of Reception Centres, including CRD Facebook and website.
If you are on an evacuation ALERT, or if you have been displaced from your home due to an emergency, please self-register for Emergency Support Services. Self-Registration will reduce wait times for evacuees and assist in the referral process. https://ess.gov.bc.ca
Further information will be issued as it becomes available. Please visit the CRD Emergency Operations Facebook as well as the CRD website at cariboord.ca/EOC. For more information contact the CRD’s emergency information line at 250-302-9003 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily).
Residents are encourage to register for the Cariboo Chilcotin Emergency Notification System to receive a text, call or email regarding evacuation alerts and orders.