Evacuation order issued due to wildfire burning near Adams Lake: officials

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: New evacuation order for Adams Lake'
B.C. wildfires: New evacuation order for Adams Lake
WATCH: A new evacuation order is in effect for several weeks of an out-of-control wildfire raging in the Shuswap. Erin Ubels has more on the Lower East Adams Lake fire burning in steep terrain. – Aug 3, 2023

An evacuation order was issued on Wednesday evening for dozens of properties in Dorian Bay due to the Lower East Adams Lake Wildfire inching closer to properties in the area.

Dorian Bay is a co-ownership of around 35 lots on the east side of Adams Lake, located 21 kilometres north of Chase.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) issued a statement for 55 properties near Lower East Adams Lake in Electoral Area F of the CSRD to leave immediately.

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The alert was upgraded to an order shortly after a local state of emergency was declared due to the fire, which was first spotted on July 12.

It is now covering an area of 2,527 hectares.

The order includes the following properties:

  • 2992 Rawson Road, in the vicinity of McLeod Point;
  • All properties from 2893 to 2900 Rawson Road, CSRD Electoral Area F
  • 3500 Bugcamp Creek-Adams East FSR; and
  • all other areas as outlined on the attached map.
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Anyone affected is being told to proceed immediately to the Adams Lake Ferry to leave the area.

People are urged to take only the essentials and report immediately to the reception centre at Quaaout Lodge, located at 1663 Little Shuswap Lake Road in Chase.

Click to play video: 'Planned ignitions underway on Osoyoos wildfire'
Planned ignitions underway on Osoyoos wildfire

But the rush to evacuate did not need to happen this way if officials listened to the community to act faster, according to Wayne Bilawchuk, who is the president and emergency coordinator of Dorian Bay.

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“We were passing on concerns and we were being told by the BC Wildfire Service, and I quote, ‘the fire behavior observed poses no threat of spreading out to threatened properties,'” Bilawchuk explained.

“It’s moved five kilometers today [Wednesday] through two communities. So, somebody dropped the ball big time.”

The BC Wildfire Service says crews are now fully engaged on this fire with 11 helicopters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment and a structure protection team.

Click to play video: 'Downton Lake Wildfire update'
Downton Lake Wildfire update

So far, Bilawchuk says no properties have been destroyed and while he’s glad the response has changed, he says it should have been taken more seriously days ago.

“It’s so frustrating that people weren’t listening. They brought gear in to protect us last week. They had it all up and running and then on Tuesday, they pulled it out,” Bilawchuk shared.

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“And the second community that’s behind all that smoke removed their evacuation alert yesterday. So, I don’t know what people are thinking.”

On Tuesday, the CSRD did partially lift the evacuation alert and move some properties into the ‘all clear’ designation but have since returned to evacuation alert status again.

BC Hydro is also reporting that more than 200 properties in Dorian Bay lost power on Wednesday as a result of the fire.

Anyone in need of assistance with transportation from the area can call 250-833-3350.

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B.C.’s wildfire season could get even worse

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