The Village of Chase is asking its citizens to be prepared in case an evacuation order becomes necessary due to the devastating White Rock Lake wildfire.
Village staff stress the alert is a precaution, and they do not want to residents to panic.
At 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Chase Mayor Rod Crowe signed an evacuation alert for the village.
“All we can do is get the word out to the community with as much information as we can, to make it something that’s not so frightening,” he said.
By 9:30 a.m, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) announced an evacuation alert for properties near Chase south of Highway 1. The district’s alert also noted the Village of Chase’s alert on the map it provided.
Under an evacuation alert, residents should prepare to leave if necessary, but do not need to evacuate.
The White Rock Lake wildfire is now burning across an estimated 45,000 hectares and recently tore through the community of Monte Lake.
Crowe estimated Chase was about 20 kilometres away from the fire’s perimeter on Aug. 6.
“You think that’s a great distance, but when you find out it moved 18 kilometres in eight hours yesterday, it’s not that far under the right conditions.”
Crowe said the Village of Chase’s thoughts are with the people of Monte Lake right now.
“People lost their homes and businesses,” said Crowe. “I think most people here, their concern has been for them.”
Crowe and Chase’s corporate officer Sean O’Flaherty have been in frequent contact with the BC Wildfire Service and Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
O’Flaherty said the main message he wants to get across is for people to pay attention to Chase’s website and social media. He also said the TNRD’s website and EmergencyInfoBC are reliable sources for wildfire information.
“Be prepared. If you’re under alert, have a go bag ready, and pay attention to media sources,” he said.
When under evacuation alert, the TNRD advises residents to:
• Locate all family members and designate a meeting area outside the evacuation area, should an evacuation order be called while separated.
• Pack essential items such as government-issued ID, medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (e.g. insurance, credit, and mortgage information), immediate care needs for dependents and, if time and space permits, keepsakes for quick departure.
• Prepare to move disabled persons, children and/or neighbours, if assistance is needed.
• Prepare to take pets with you and move livestock to a safe area (if possible).
• Arrange transportation for all your household. Fill the gas tanks of personal vehicles.
• Arrange accommodation for all members of the residence, if possible.
Wait for an evacuation order to be issued before evacuating. Monitor for information on evacuation orders and location of reception centres.