The Evacuation Order, pursuant to Section 12 (1) of the BC Emergency Program Act issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District on August 18, 2023, in Electoral Area A has been partially downgraded to an Evacuation Alert for SLRD properties in the community of Bralorne.
An Evacuation Order may need to be reissued for the properties in the Alert area; however, if that is deemed necessary, the Evacuation Order process will recommence.
There are numerous factors to consider before choosing to return to Bralorne:
- The Hurley River Forest Service Road is currently under access control. Access to the Bralorne area is restricted to residents and emergency responders only.
- The Gold Bridge and Bralorne areas are only being powered by the BC Hydro Lajoie substation, and not the main grid. As a result, Bralorne residents choosing to return home must be prepared for power outages. These outages may be long-lasting.
- Recreational travel and use of the area are not permitted at this time. Recreational sites and trails remain closed. Visit Recreational Sites and Trails BC for more information.
- As of August 31, access to Bralorne is via Hurley River FSR only. Visit www.DriveBC.ca and confirm that your intended route home is not obstructed by road closures.
- If you have received Emergency Support Services (ESS), including accommodations, these provisions cease when the Evacuation Order is rescinded. Contact 604-698-9812 (ESS Director) for more information.
- As of August 25, Interior Health has issued a Do Not Consume Notice for the Bralorne Community Water System. Local residents choosing to return to the Bralorne area within the Evacuation Alert zone MUST bring in their own water for consumption. Visit Interior Health Water Advisories for more information and updates.
- The SLRD has made a special provision for residents who chose to return to the Bralorne community currently under an Evacuation Alert. Residents can drop off their solid waste on Sunday, September 3, 2023 from 10 am -12 noon in the bin across from the Bralorne Pub. Lillooet Disposal Services will be there to help facilitate the drop-off. This service is a one-time scheduled service. No other drop offs will be accepted. Please be Bear Aware when disposing of waste. Further waste disposal updates will be released shortly. Note: A fire ban is still in place across all regions of the SLRD. The Gold Bridge Transfer Station remains closed.
- Adhere to the Evacuation Orders in surrounding areas; including road signs and emergency responders’ requests.
- For more information, visit SLRD.bc.ca/EOC or call the SLRD Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) toll-free line 1-888-213-0780.
- Subscribe to SLRD Alert for free at www.slrd.bc.ca/slrdalert to receive emergency notifications via email, text messages, and voicemail.
BC Wildfire Service update for August 31, 2023
Information in this section is taken from the BCWS Bendor Range Complex Bulletin.
Weather Update: On Thursday, August 31, expect the rain that started overnight to continue for part of the day with a new low-pressure system moving through the Coastal Range. Cloudy and 5 to 10 mm of precipitation is possible by end of day. Amounts will be highest at elevation while valley bottom sites will see the least amounts. Possibility of thundershowers later in the day with the potential for higher localized precipitation as a result. After which, skies will gradually clear followed by moderate northerly winds. Fog expected early in the day Friday.
Safety: Extra attention should be paid to the potential for trees with weakened root systems to be increasingly hazardous in fire-affected landscapes, especially during high winds.
Downton Lake wildfire: On Wednesday evening, the BC Wildfire Service removed personnel working on the Downton Lake wildfire (K71649) from the fire camp located near Goldbridge housing. This was required to ensure the safety of personnel following persistent bear activity within and around the camp. Approximately 160 personnel travelled to Lillooet where they are presently hosted at T’it’q’et First Nation and Lillooet municipality facilities. Plans are underway to safely return personnel to an appropriate location to continue working toward objectives on the Downton Lake wildfire. Conservation officers are assessing and advising. Further updates will be provided as they are available.
All Evacuation Orders issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remain in effect.
Casper Creek wildfire: 10,982 Hectares in size. Classified as Out of Control.
No Casper Creek update provided on August 31.
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:
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 Assessments have been conducted. The SLRD is in the process of contacting residents whose property has experienced structure loss.
Both BC Wildfire Service and SLRD are collaborating to expedite this process.
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.
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.
- Step 3: Data Collection and Property Identification:
Information collected from RDAs will be analyzed, and property owners will be identified.
- CURRENT STEP: 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 ALERT - Electoral Area B Yalakom Valley and Bridge River Valley Areas
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
- In-person registration:
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.
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.
BC Hydro Support
BC Hydro has support and assistance programs available for those affected by the devastating wildfires in the Bridge River area. Should you have questions about your bill or next steps, please contact 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376). You can find more information on bchydro.com.
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