Wildfire evacuees in the 100 Mile House area are eligible for supports at the local Emergency Support Services location, officials confirmed Sunday.
The clarification followed confusion from some local evacuees who were allegedly told by volunteers in 100 Mile House that they would need to travel the ESS centre in Williams Lake in order to obtain vouchers for groceries.
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson said he had several residents reach out to seek clarification over the weekend and said the confusion was chalked up to a “misunderstanding” at both the 100 Mile and Williams Lake ESS centres.
“It was a directive that came from elsewhere, and it was an honest mistake in both offices,” Doerkson said. “We need to remember that these (ESS workers) are volunteers, some of them are on evacuation themselves.”
While food vouchers are available at the 100 Mile ESS centre – located at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary – Doerkson did point out that evacuees cannot be lodged in 100 Mile House as the town is currently under evacuation alert.
“They cannot put you into a place that they might have to kick you out of in an hour,” Doerkson said, noting that many evacuees have found camping shelter at areas just outside of the alert zone, such as the 108 Heritage Site or the 100 Mile Baptist Church.
Evacuees can also register online at www.ess.gov.bc.ca, then reach out to their local ESS centre for instructions on how to receive supports. The 100 Mile ESS centre can be reached at 250-644-0416 and the Williams Lake centre number is 250-267-4861.
Doerkson said if there are issues with connectivity for evacuees, then additional assistance for completing registration and accessing supports is available.
“We can get the paperwork faxed to my office, or faxed directly to some of the suppliers,” Doerkson said. “But it’s important to remember that you can’t get food vouchers for someone else, it has to be the person who registered.”
There are currently 1,074 properties under evacuation order in the Flat Lake to Green Lake North region, including parts of Lone Butte, due to the Flat Lake wildfire southeast of 100 Mile. An additional 482 properties in the Canim Lake / Mahood Lake region are under evacuation alert as a result of the Canim Lake fire.