BC Fire Wildfire Update - July 27, 2017
The City of Williams Lake and the CRD (Cariboo Regional District) are now preparing for the return of evacuees. I have personally spoken with Williams Lake Mayor, Walt Cobb, today and he assured me that he will be personally going to view the fires in a helicopter today. If the situation is favourable, then the city will make a decision reopen. Based on the information I have been receiving, there is a possibility the city will be accepting evacuees by this coming Friday. There is still no imminent danger to city properties and according to the CRD, the number of structure damages outside the city remains at about 40. The fires are of great concern, but after I have spoken with one the Fire Chiefs, I realized there are other major concerns. One of these concerns includes 'after burn' (underground fires that can resurface). To put out these fires could take months. What the Firefighters need is about 5 solid days of heavy rainfall.
A Resiliency Centre is now being set up at the Boitanio Mall to assist returnees. Today, I have personally spoken with the Resiliency Centre Manager, Dale Kronebusch, who explained that the centre will provide the necessary services returnees need. The centre will have booths for the Red Cross, Insurance Bureau of Canada, several insurance companies who will be on spot to help with claims, social services help, service Canada, and many more. Those who need accurate updates can visit the Williams Lake Tribune at wltribune.com. Here is the link to get the latest Resiliency Centre update: http://www.wltribune.com/news/resiliency-centre-readies-for-evacuees.
I have also personally spoken with one the Fire Chiefs and the RCMP who assured me that nearly every home in the city has been checked to ensure they are safe.
Regarding Donations, I met with Dave Dickson, CRD Emergency Social Services Coordinator, who explained that a distribution centre will be opened. They have already made local hires to manage the distribution centre. This is where ADRA and other relief agencies can participate. The Williams Lake Ministerial Fellowship will be working closely with the distribution centre; we will be meeting this evening to discuss how donations can be used to benefit evacuees. Seventh-day Adventist Churches who wish to help can send donations to ADRA and we (pastors) can let ADRA know how and where to help.
Current Needs: Based on my conversation with Dave Dickson, one of the major needs right now and in the immediate future is the need for volunteers. Volunteers are needed to help at the distribution centre, to help at the Salvation Army, to help evacuees with their homes, etc. Just to emphasize the need of volunteers, yesterday another pastor and myself had to volunteer to clean the CRD offices. Others pastors are doing the same. This is a time when we as Christians and needed to show the love of Christ.
Feel free to pass on info to the Messenger, ADRA, VOAR, Churches, etc. Further updates will come later.
Alrick Watson, Pastor
Williams Lake & Quesnel
Seventh-day Adventist Churches