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City of Prince George says it’s ready to take another wave of evacuees

Appeal for volunteers to help evacuees heading to Prince George
The City of Prince George says it has enough space for more evacuees, but is feeling the crunch when it comes to volunteer labour.

Officials in Prince George say the city is equipped to handle another wave of people, should fires force the evacuation of Williams Lake.

The city has already taken in more than 3,000 wildfire evacuees.

Williams Lake, about 240 kilometres to the south, has a population of about 11,000 and is on evacuation alert.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfire status Wednesday: All eyes on the weather

Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall said should the worst case scenario happen and the order to clear Williams Lake come, his city is ready.

“It’s going to be tight if you anticipate 10,000 or 11,000 people coming through our city. We’re a city of about 74,000. Our primary concern would be making sure we have facilities, which we do. And we would certainly need a lot of volunteers. It’s a lot of work.”

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WATCH: Huge response to call for volunteers amid B.C. wildfires

Huge response to call for volunteers in wildfire-ravaged B.C.
Huge response to call for volunteers in wildfire-ravaged B.C.

The demand for volunteers is already squeezing the city, with officials putting out a call Tuesday for more help.

Would-be volunteers are urged to contact officials through the City of Prince George’s website.

To date, the city’s volunteer needs have been met by pre-trained volunteers.

WATCH: Full coverage of B.C. wildfires

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Hall said staffing issues aside, there is plenty of space in the city to accommodate more evacuees should the need arise.

“School is out for the summer, so we have access to all the schools. We have a conference and civic Centre. We have our large CN Centre which is where our WHL team plays.”

READ MORE: Ranchers near 100 Mile House defy evacuation order, fight to save homes

Prince George has already established three evacuation centres for residents from evacuated areas.

For now the College of New Caledonia is full, UNBC is at half capacity and cots at Prince George Secondary are empty.

Those wishing to donate to the effort to support the evacuees can support the BC Fires Appeal with the Canadian Red Cross.