The number of registered Cariboo wildfire evacuees in Prince George has surpassed 8,000.
The growth in registrations is also being reflected in the number of people registered for lodging at the College of New Caledonia and at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre: the total is now just over 700 and evacuees have started to make use of the cots in the NSC field house for the first time. The value of grocery vouchers distributed to evacuees has risen to just shy of $800,000.
The next Town Hall for evacuees will be tonight, Monday July 17, at 5 p.m. The event will include an update from the BC Wildfire Service and information about services for evacuees currently in Prince George.
The town hall will be presented from the Canfor Theatre at UNBC and will be simulcast to Room 1-306 at the College of New Caledonia and to the Northern Sport Centre. It can also be viewed online at www.unbc.ca/livestream. Please plan to attend or tune in at 5:00pm.
Fort Mac Gives Back
Seeing the stories of wildfires threatening communities in the Cariboo must bring back terrible memories for the residents of Fort McMurray, who went through their own evacuation last year after a wildfire started in the forest and swept through their community. But Saturday morning at 5am, two brothers from Fort McMurray jumped in their truck and drove all day to Prince George, pulling a trailer full of supplies for first responders and evacuees. As Mike and Gerry Fortier backed up that trailer on Sunday morning to unload, bright letters spelling “From Fort Mac with Love” could be read on the back.
“We’re just paying it forward,” said Mike Fortier, noting the tremendous support they felt from across Canada last year. Inside their trailer were new fire-retardant coveralls and respirators for firefighters, plus water, towels, diapers, children’s medicine, and personal care items. By late Sunday, most of their supplies were already being distributed to those who could use them.
The city is utilizing space at Interior Warehousing on River Road to receive and distribute supplies to assist evacuees and the evacuation effort. There are thousands of cots received from the national emergency stockpile in Edmonton, piled to the ceiling. Among the items just received yesterday were hundreds of pillows from the local Mormon congregation and 750 “comfort packages” from the Canadian Red Cross containing shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes, and more.
From pets to livestock, the evacuation effort is more than just about people. Along with the thousands of evacuees in Prince George are the animals that accompanied them. The local Humane Society was first on the scene to provide boarding for pets and their operation at Peden Hill Elementary currently has 71 cats and 11 dogs with room for more. Meanwhile, the SPCA has 35 dogs in their kennels on the grounds of Duchess Park School with the capacity for 20 more dogs. Both facilities are being provided by School District 57.
At Exhibition Park, the Agriplex has become the home away from home for 178 horses, 36 chickens, 5 goats, 2 sheep, and one pot-bellied pig.
More information about caring for evacuated pets and livestock is available on the City’s webpage: princegeorge.ca/caribooevacuation.