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Wildfires are raging in B.C.’s Cariboo region but residents frustrated by government

Residents in the Cariboo region say they know crews on the ground are doing all they can but there's frustration that the government is not doing enough to help fight the fires. Courtesy: Meghann Fletcher/Submitted

With more than 60 active fires currently burning in the Cariboo region of the province, residents there are on edge.

The District of 100 Mile House has also been placed under an evacuation alert.

The hospital in the community told Global News it is preparing for the potential for “fire-related impacts” to health facilities.

Read more: B.C. wildfire map 2021: Location and size of the fires burning around the province

Six residents from long-term care, two community care clients and nine acute care patients were proactively evacuated to ensure the safe continuity of their care.

While the residents of nearby 108 Mile Ranch are not under evacuation alert, there are fires close by and residents know from experience that they could be asked to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

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But there’s a growing sense of frustration in the community that the lack of information is causing confusion and in some cases, panic.

Dave Christoffersen has lived in 108 Mile Ranch for 12 years and told Global News he sees the wildfire crews taking off and landing from the nearby airport.

“They’re flying over constantly but you can never figure out what they’re doing, there’s never any information or anything like that. They don’t tell you when you get evacuated,” he said.

Read more: District of 100 Mile House under evacuation alert due to wildfires raging in the Cariboo

He added the Red Cross working in the region has been very helpful so far.

He said he knows all the crews are doing the best work they can in these difficult conditions but the lack of information is frustrating.

Click to play video: 'New wildfire evacuation orders issued in the Cariboo' New wildfire evacuation orders issued in the Cariboo
New wildfire evacuation orders issued in the Cariboo – Jul 15, 2021

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Rudy Laverdure, also a resident of 108 Mile Ranch, said he thinks the government has dropped the ball when responding to these fires.

“There’s no communications whatsoever between anything,” he said.

“You think, you could lose your house again. There’s a chance of losing it all, everything you’ve got, everything you’re worked at for years.”

He said he would like to see more firefighters on the ground.

“It’s fine sending up equipment but you’ve got to send the firefighters to work with them,” he added.

Click to play video: 'Heat and thunderstorm warnings spark wildfire concerns in B.C.' Heat and thunderstorm warnings spark wildfire concerns in B.C.
Heat and thunderstorm warnings spark wildfire concerns in B.C – Aug 2, 2020

Read more: Evacuation order, alerts issued due to Tremont Creek wildfire burning near Ashcroft, B.C.

A state of emergency in B.C. due to the wildfires has not been declared at this time.

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In a statement Thursday, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he wants to assure British Columbians the government is “deploying all necessary and available personnel and equipment to respond to wildfires across the province. The federal government and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre are providing firefighting personnel, aircraft support and other assets.

“The province will continue to do everything possible to protect communities from wildfires and help evacuate British Columbians where necessary. Last night, the Canadian Forces helped evacuate some residents using their aircraft, and we are very grateful for that assistance.”

Farnworth is urging everyone to make an action plan on the occasion they might be evacuated.

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