EOC Toll-free Information Line available to public
As of Wednesday, August 30, 2023, the SLRD Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated an Information Line for residents affected by wildfire.
Hours: Seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST
The SLRD continues to work closely with the BC Wildfire Service, First Nations, RCMP, neighbouring communities, and various partner agencies to gather and share information where possible.
If EOC staff cannot answer a question, they will ask the caller for contact information and follow up in an email or return call. Contact details collected are confidential and protected by FOIPPA.
EOC staff will not answer questions specific to wildfire-related structure loss. Residents whose property has been impacted will be contacted individually by SLRD staff.
Current EOC information is available at: www.SLRD.bc.ca/EOC.
BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) update for August 29, 2023
Information in this section is taken from the BCWS Bendor Range Complex Bulletin.
Weather Update: An offshore low is moving into the area bringing an increase in southerly winds of 10-15 km/h with 25 km/h gusts possible. These increased winds could translate into an increase in fire behaviour. The last 24 hours have brought heavy thunderstorm activity within Sea-to-Sky and Fraser Canyon. Trace to a few mm of rain fell in most areas in the south of the province. Wednesday and Thursday we are expecting widespread shower activity with rainfall amounts ranging from trace-10mm, with the potential for locally moderate to heavy amounts, particularly at higher elevations. The Lillooet area could see localized rainfall amounts of 15-25 mm if heavier downpours develop. On Friday and Saturday, a warm and dry trend develops. Sunday is expected to bring cool temperatures, showers, and shifting winds which may allow a wet weather system to carry into next week.
Safety: With elevated winds forecast, extra attention will be paid to the potential for trees with weakened root systems to be increasingly hazardous in fire-affected landscapes. With precipitation also in the forecast, road conditions could also be impacted.
Downton Lake wildfire: The size of the wildfire has been updated to approx. 9,357 hectares. Fire size growth is not due to fire activity, but rather attributed to more accurate mapping on the N.W. corner which crews were able to complete. Structure protection crews will continue working in the Gold Bridge and northeast Gun Lake areas to finish implementing and maintaining structural protection equipment. They also continue maintaining sprinkler systems in the Pearson drainage and south of Gun Creek Road. Crews and heavy equipment are firefighting along the west Tyaughton guard to secure the fire’s edge, as well as building contingency lines east of Tyaughton and to the south of the fire above Carpenter Lake Road. On the west flank, crews are building machine guard southward along Saddle Road to connect to Highway 40. Firefighters are conducting direct attacks northeast of Lakeview Road to secure the fire’s edge and protect structures in the area.
All Evacuation Orders issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remain in effect.
Casper Creek wildfire: Firefighters are extinguishing hotspots and securing guard between Surge Tower and Bear Cub Road while danger tree assessment and felling is ongoing along the west flank. Crews continue to work closely with our partners at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Hydro to establish a reopening plan for Mission Mountain Road.
The Evacuation Alert and Order issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remains in effect. The Tsal’alh First Nation has upgraded their Evacuation Alert to an Evacuation Order as of Aug. 20, 2023.
Latest updates from BC Wildfire Service:
This update is also available in PDF.
Returning home after an Evacuation Order is lifted
The SLRD has created a Returning Home Guide to help property owners re-enter an area impacted by wildfire after the Evacuation Order has been lifted.
The SLRD has made progress with regards to understanding the impact that wildfires have made to our region. We are working towards re-entry and recovery as quickly as possible, but our primary focus is the safety of residents and first responders. We appreciate your patience and will lift the Evacuation Orders as soon as the recommendation from BC Wildfire Service is provided and it is safe to do so.
Structural Impact Assessment Update: BC Wildfire Service has informed us of potential structural impacts, particularly on the northwest side of Gun Lake and possibly elsewhere in the area. SLRD is committed to conducting rapid damage assessments (RDAs) as soon as safety permits. We will directly communicate assessment results to those affected.
Both BC Wildfire Service and SLRD are collaborating to expedite the RDAs.
Continuous Updates and Patience:
We will keep residents informed as we progress through this process. We understand the challenge of waiting and kindly request your continued patience.
Depending on wildfire conditions, this assessment may require some time.
Steps for Identifying Structure Loss:
- Step 1: Clearance to Enter Affected Areas:
The SLRD has received clearance from BC Wildfire Services to enter certain affected areas. This clearance allows our Emergency Operations Centre to initiate assessments.
- Step 2: Rapid Damage Assessments (RDAs):
RDAs commenced on August 22 but were temporarily halted due to wildfire activity.
RDAs have now been completed on the West Side of Gun Lake. The team will continue with the RDAs when provided safety clearance from BCWS.
- Step 3: Data Collection and Property Identification:
Information collected from RDAs will be analyzed, and property owners will be identified. This step is in progress.
- Step 4: Communication with Affected Property Owners:
We will reach out individually to property owners who have lost or experienced damage to their structures.
- Step 5: Broader Public Communication:
Following direct communication with affected property owners, we will provide broader updates to the public.
While on evacuation alert or order - begin the process of contacting your insurance and familiarizing yourself with the steps you may need to take next. This information is also provided in the SLRD Returning Home Guide which includes steps property owners can begin prior to gaining access.
Learn more from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Relocation of livestock for eligible farm businesses and First Nations is supported by the province during emergencies (see policy - which is not intended to address non-commercial livestock or pets.)
Relocation can commence during an evacuation alert stage.
The process provides for reimbursement of response costs invoiced from service providers for transportation, feed and housing. If you need assistance, please contact the SLRD’s Emergency Operations Agriculture Liaison, Leslie MacDonald at C2@slrd.bc.ca or mobile at 326-999-2945.
For current evacuations, see www.slrd.bc.ca for updates:
- Evacuation ORDER for SLRD Electoral Area A
- Evacuation ALERT - Electoral Area B Yalakom Valley and Bridge River Valley Areas
- Evacuation ALERT Casper Creek Wildfire K71535 - Electoral Area B
- Evacuation ORDER Casper Creek Wildfire K71535 - Electoral Area A & B
The following information was included in previous updates, although links to wildfire updates will contain new information.
Emergency Support Services (ESS)
Even if you do not have immediate needs, we recommend that all evacuees register for ESS. ESS provides short-term basic support to people impacted by disasters. The ESS program is financed by the provincial government and administered by local governments.
Why you should register:
- It will help when claiming insurance
- Get support with emergency clothing, food vouchers and accommodations
- Other resources which could be useful now or in the future
Where to register or request assistance:
- Online registration: https://ess.gov.bc.ca
- Canadian Red Cross 24/7 Disaster Assistance Line: 1-888-800-6493
Lillooet District Rec Centre
930 Main Street – Room 101, Lillooet BC V0K 1V0
Open: 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm Saturday, closed Sunday
Outside of these hours call: 250-256-8524
ESS relies on volunteers to coordinate support services for people forced from their homes in an emergency. If interested in volunteering, visit Emergency Support Services Volunteers.
Privacy and your personal information
Personal information collected, used, disclosed and retained by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District for emergency purposes is done so under the authority of the FOIPP Act (section 26). Personal information will only be used by authorized staff to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally collected or for a use consistent with that purpose unless you expressly consent otherwise. We do not disclose your information to other public bodies or individuals except as authorized by the FOIPP Act.
The best way to protect your health from wildfire smoke is to reduce your exposure to smoke and seek cleaner air:
- Stay indoors: Reduce time spent outdoors to protect your health.
- Reduce outdoor physical activity: Refer to the Air Quality Health Index and decrease physical exertion outdoors in when air quality is poor.
- Consider wearing a well fitted respirator if you cannot access cleaner air: Use a well fitted respirator (e.g., N95, KN95) properly to reduce exposure to particulate matter in smoke.
Learn more about actions you can take to protect yourself and your family during times of poor air quality.
Taking care of yourself and others
- Create a support network. This may include family, friends, or professionals. If you are struggling, seek or accept help.
- Speak with a counsellor at 1-866-585-0445 (Adults) or 1-888-668-6810 (youth) or www.wellnesstogether.ca
- If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis or has suicide-related concerns, please call 1-833-456-4566 or visit talksuicide.ca - both are available 24/7. Text CONNECT to 686868.
- 211 is a free and confidential phone service that connects people to helpful and vital resources in their community such as basic needs like food and shelter, mental health and addictions support, legal and financial support for seniors and much more.
- Calling the Telus Health Community Crisis Health Line 1-844-751-2133, available 24/7. Telus Health also offers access to a physician if you cannot access yours.
See dangerous conditions? Leave immediately!
A tactical evacuation may be initiated by first responders due to a sudden change in wildfire behaviour and imminent safety risk. Due to the urgency of the situation, tactical evacuations may not initially be accompanied by a written or online Evacuation Order from the SLRD. In these urgent situations, residents may receive an Evacuation Order by door-to-door notification or other means. These types of notifications still serve as a formal, legally binding Evacuation Orders. That said, the SLRD will follow-up with a written and posted Evacuation Order as soon as possible.
A formal evacuation order is a legal process that may or may not have been preceded by a tactical evacuation. Residents receiving notice of a tactical evacuation, or a formal Evacuation Order must leave the area immediately.
If you see dangerous conditions, do not wait for an evacuation notice. Leave immediately and get to a safe location.
Loss of communications and utilities
There has been a loss of power and communications in some areas. Residents are responsible for ensuring they can access information on the emergency through local contacts or by finding a location where they can access the internet to get updates.
If you see down power lines, assume they are live and keep a safe distance, and report to BC Hydro at 1-800-224-9376 or text *49376.
Road closures and getting out safely
Wildfires continue to impact roads in the area, and roads have been closed due to dangerous and unpredictable conditions. Responders in the area have noted some roads are passable one moment and extremely dangerous the next. Please respect closures and protect your safety.
All roads within evacuation order areas are closed to public travel.
Steep slopes affected by wildfire are vulnerable to rolling rocks and trees, impeding the safe passage of vehicles.
Please see www.DriveBC.ca for information about other road closures in the region.
Prepare your property
You have a responsibility to prepare your property for wildfire. Move flammable objects away from structures. Clean debris from roofs and gutters. Close your windows.
Learn more about what you can do: www.firesmartbc.ca.
Ways to stay informed
- SLRD Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheSLRD
- SLRD Twitter: twitter.com/slrd_bc
- SLRD Emergency Alerts & Orders: www.slrd.bc.ca/emergency-program/emergency-alerts- orders
- BC Wildfire Map: https://wildfiresituation.nrs.gov.bc.ca/map
- BC Wildfire Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo
- Road impacts - Drive BC: www.drivebc.ca