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Some Williams Lake evacuees make their way north

After a day of very strong winds, residents of Williams Lake last night received news they didn’t want to hear: an evacuation order.

In anticipation that some evacuees would arrive in Prince George, the city made preparations to welcome them overnight. This included ramping up the number of volunteers at the Emergency Reception Centre and initiating traffic controls on major roads that would direct evacuees to a place where they could rest as soon as possible. This included the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre for those who needed a bed and the CN Centre parking lot for those travelling with RVs.

Prior to the Williams Lake evacuation order, 7,300 evacuees from the Cariboo had registered in Prince George. Just over 600 had registered for lodging being provided at the College of New Caledonia and at the Northern Sport Centre.

Enhanced Services in Prince George

The first of two large shipments from Disaster Aid Canada arrived yesterday in Prince George with a shipment of nearly 600 hygiene kits for evacuees. City of Prince George photo

Members of the Nechako Rotary Club were on hand at YXS yesterday to receive a shipment of hygiene kits, towels, and blankets from Disaster Aid Canada. Nearly 600 of the kits – containing soap, shampoo, a razor, and more – were brought to the evacuation centres at CNC and the University for distribution to evacuees.

Northern Health announced the expansion of services and hours at local health clinics, including one located right at CNC:

The Health Service Management Clinic at the College is open Monday-Sunday from 8am-11pm, with 24-hour nurse availability

Nechako Medical Clinic in the Spruceland Mall (761 Central Street) is featuring extended hours:

  • Monday to Friday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Saturday  9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday  10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Salveo Medical Clinic (inside the Real Canadian Superstore at 2155 Ferry Ave) is also open for extended hours:

  • Monday to Friday  8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday  9 a.m. – 3 .pm.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has organized insurers to set up tents and stations in the laneway in front of Prince George Senior Secondary, which is across the highway from the emergency reception centre at the College of New Caledonia. Insurance providers on site include Intact Insurance, Wawanesa Insurance, SGI Canada, and HUB International. They provide a number of services, including setting up new claims and issuing emergency evacuation cheques.

These insurers set up for the first time on Saturday, and most will be open from 8am to 8pm starting today. The IBC Customer Information Centre can provide further information: 1-844-227-5422 or email askibcwest@ibc.ca.

Emergency Social Services (ESS) Renewal

The ESS program provided in Prince George is working to streamline its processes and lengthen the time evacuees can access services. Those who registered at CNC were provided services for an initial period of six days; for some evacuees, that period ends today. This requires that they renew in order to keep accessing important services such as lodging and groceries.

Services are being extended to July 30.

How and when to complete referral forms:

Renewal will begin today at 6 p.m.

  • For evacuees in hotels, ESS teams will automatically extend the expiry to July 30.
  • Evacuees who have made their own accommodation arrangements should proceed to the Emergency Reception Centre at the College ONLY IF they require grocery vouchers. Please remember to have the yellow copy of the registration form to make the process as fast as possible.
  • Lodging services for evacuees at CNC and the Northern Sport Centre have been automatically extended to July 30.

Volunteer Numbers

Since the wildfire situation in the Cariboo began, the City of Prince George and Volunteer PG have registered roughly 1,500 volunteers.

The city has been deploying 50 volunteers every four hours for a total of 300 per day since the opening of the Volunteer PG Centre on Thursday morning.

Yesterday, city staff and volunteers phoned registered volunteers to check their availability in order to fill in gaps in the schedule and determine availability for an on-call list. More than 700 phone calls were made.

Consequently, the schedule is now fully staffed with volunteers for the next week.

Starting today, the city will begin deploying an additional 25 volunteers per day, bringing the daily total to 300. Some of these additional volunteers will be devoted to a mobile registration team.

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