Wildfire officials are optimistic that Deka Lake evacuees won’t be out of their homes long term, but said there are “many variables” that will impact lifting the evacuation order.
Around 50 residents attended an information meeting Sunday evening at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary, at which officials from BC Wildfire and the Cariboo Regional District provided an update on the 300-hectare Deka Lake fire.
“We have most of our resources working on the fire out at Deka,” Reg Trapp, officer with the BC Wildfire Service said. “We now have a guard around the perimeter of the fire. Because it’s on a hill and because of the rocky surface, we don’t have the guard tight to the fire.”
Trapp said a controlled burn will have to take place to tighten the perimeter of the fire and bring it closer to the control lines. Once that is done, he said a day or so of assessment will be needed before discussions with the CRD’s Emergency Operation Centre can take place regarding downgrading the evacuation order to an alert.
A planned prescribed burn on Sunday was postponed due to windy weather but Trapp said that crews will try again Monday morning.
“I want to get you folks back in, but I want to make sure that access road to your community is secure,” he said, noting that “great progress” had been made so far.
“My top priority is your safety. Until I can guarantee to a very high degree that you guys are safe in there, I can’t allow you back in.”
Close to 700 properties at Deka Lake and 14 along Judson Road have been under evacuation order since July 1.
According to Trapp, there are currently more than 30 wildfires in the South Cariboo, all of which were started by the intense lightning storm on Wednesday, June 30. He said 10 of those are under control, but there are some that still have not been attacked by crews, including some north of Canim Lake.
“We just don’t have the resources to go after them yet, but they are being assessed daily,” Trapp said, noting that resources from out of province are slow to come in due to COVID-19.
“We don’t have the resources coming in as fast as we have in the past, due to that.”
The meeting was also attended by CRD staff, Emergency Support Service volunteers, Area L director Willow MacDonald, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, MLA Lorne Doerkson and 100 Mile House RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen.