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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:25 am 
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The entire town of over 10,000 has been evacuated. No one has any idea of when they can return.

Be ready. Review your insurance. Review your emergency funds.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:57 am 
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http://williamslake.ca/

When you evacuate:

• Turn off water, gas and electricity, if time

• Take an emergency survival kit with you (eg. battery powered radio, flashlight, water, food, warm clothing)

• Take identification and prescription medicine for your family (and pets)

• Listen to the radio and follow instructions from local emergency officials

• Lock up your home



• Follow the specified routes. Don’t take shortcuts as you could wind up in blocked or dangerous areas

• If you have time, leave a note telling others where you are going.



I guess that covers the minimum

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:08 am 
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flybynight wrote:
http://williamslake.ca/

When you evacuate:

• Turn off water, gas and electricity, if time

• Take an emergency survival kit with you (eg. battery powered radio, flashlight, water, food, warm clothing)

• Take identification and prescription medicine for your family (and pets)

• Listen to the radio and follow instructions from local emergency officials

• Lock up your home



• Follow the specified routes. Don’t take shortcuts as you could wind up in blocked or dangerous areas

• If you have time, leave a note telling others where you are going.



I guess that covers the minimum

Sounds good to me.... :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:56 pm 
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According to CBC News, about 20,000 people have been evacuated from Williams Lake & the surrounding region. Some residents of Cash Creek will be allowed to return. No word on if they have a home left.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Wow that is some wildfire. However, evacuation is the only thing to do in the case of a wildfire.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Here is what is happening south of the border: 'Extreme And Aggressive' California Wildfires Force Thousands To Evacuate

From NPR's website:

Quote:
A wildfire in the foothills near Yosemite National Park has consumed eight structures — and is threatening 1,500 more in tiny Mariposa, Calif.

The town's 2,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate because of the blaze known as the Detwiler Fire, and Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a state of emergency for Mariposa County.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, posted on its website that "firefighters experienced extreme and aggressive fire behavior" on Tuesday. "Firefighters on the ground as well as aircraft are actively working to contain and suppress the fire."

The Detwiler Fire has burned more than 45,000 acres and is just 7 percent contained, and it threatens "culturally and historically sensitive areas," the agency says.

"I haven't seen these conditions in a long time, it's a wind driven, slope-driven, fuel-driven fire," Cal Fire's Jerry Fernandez told Fresno's ABC affiliate.

Mariposa is about 150 miles east of San Jose, Calif.

About 4,000 people have had to flee their homes because of the fire, The Los Angeles Times reports; temperatures are expected to drop a few degrees on Wednesday, but humidity and winds will likely continue.

Cal Fire spokesman Koby Johns says that the cause of the fire is unknown but that its speed is due to the region's drought being followed by heavy rains.

"Lots of tall grasses, lots of bushes, and they essentially provide like a ladder to the trees," Johns told Valley Public Radio's Ezra David Romero. "A lot of those trees are dead oak trees and then you have fire spreading from tree to tree."

Drone grounds helicopter fighting another California fire

In the city of Saratoga, Calif., near San Jose, the pilot of a water-dropping helicopter was forced to ground the aircraft when a drone appeared unexpectedly, Ryan Cronin of the Santa Clara County Fire Department told the Times.

"It really put them in a precarious position," he said of the drone. "We didn't appreciate that much."

Wildfires have been especially prevalent this year. Fires have burned 4.4 million acres so far in 2017, compared with 2.7 million acres over the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Large fires are currently reported in 12 states, all in the western U.S.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:43 pm 
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It's been an interesting few weeks up this way.

Looks like the evacuation order for 100 mile house (just south of williams lake) has been rescinded and residents are able to go home there as of yesterday. I'm currently enjoying NOT delivering evacuation notices with Search and Rescue. Williams Lake itself remains under Evacuation Order but if things continue as they have been the last few days I expect that to be lifted any time now too.

The fires seem to be calming down over the last several days and current MODIS modelling has them cooling off significantly from last weekend.

https://fsapps.nwcg.gov/afm/googleearth.php?sensor=modis&extent=canada

I was deployed with my SAR group last weekend and the weekend before to do evacuation notices in the Williams Lake area. Had a few lessons learned, my sleeping set up was woefully inadequate, so I've purchased a new sleeping mat and pillow as well as added ear plugs to my kit. 20 hour days followed by 4 hours of broken sleep because one of my teammates has a bag/mat setup that sounds like ripping velcro every 2 minutes does not for restful sleep make. My obsession with good flashlights and ways to keep batteries charged was a lifesaver when it got dark at 7pm instead of 11 due to smoke.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:34 pm 
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raptor wrote:
Wow that is some wildfire. However, evacuation is the only thing to do in the case of a wildfire.

Yes, when presented with a wildfire, the only sane thing you can do is bug out. That said, this is a prepping site, so we'd be remiss to not mention the importance of maintaining a defensible zone around your house.

Keep grass and weeds on your property cropped short, remove deadfall, keep trees trimmed tidily, and don't let conifers branches hang too low to the ground. Keep your gutters clear, don't let leaves build up under your deck, or in your crawl space. If you have a lawn and the water supplies, keep it from going dormant in the summer. Don't landscape with shrubs or trees too close to the house.

If building a house, choose aluminum or concrete siding instead of vinyl (wood actually takes a good bit to get going). Shake roofs are the devil, for so many reasons...

It's not a forgone conclusion that if a fire sweeps through an area, your house will go up in flames. There are definitely things that can help.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:40 pm 
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All my houses are brick with metal roof. All my storage buildings are metal. It won't prevent it from being destroyed in a fire or toppled in a tornado but it gives the structure a fighting chance.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:18 pm 
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According to CBC News:Hourly edition, 7PM EDT, there are still 150 fires burning, with 9 new ones.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:37 pm 
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when I had a property in the San Bernadino Mts. I was researching homeowner applied spray foams and gels. If you had to evacuate from a wildfire the kit had the chemicals and a back pack sprayer that when mixed with water you sprayed on the home or structure and prevented the fire from catching. I haven't looked at these products in over ten years so don't know if their effectiveness was proved but I do see that both Los Angeles and San Bernadino fire depts. use truck mounted sprayers to help protect homes during wildfires.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:46 pm 
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One of the interesting notes in this situation that I had read... in 150 mile house near Williams Lake they lost some houses... the deciding factor? Whether or not the residents had mowed their lawn recently. It was on a facebook post I can't find now to share of course, but there were pics of two burnt houses with the one in the middle being fine except for the lawn was about half burned, house and trees were untouched.

Granted, these are pretty big properties, probably 1/3 to 1/2 acre lots so they aren't all squished together like in an urban environment, but I thought it was interesting.

On the good news front, the Evacuation order has been downgraded to an Alert for much of the Williams Lake area as of yesterday and my Search and Rescue team has been told we won't likely be needed in the area again for now.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3629072/williams-lake-evacuation-order-lifted-residents-return-home/

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:01 pm 
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slannesh wrote:
One of the interesting notes in this situation that I had read... in 150 mile house near Williams Lake they lost some houses... the deciding factor? Whether or not the residents had mowed their lawn recently. It was on a facebook post I can't find now to share of course, but there were pics of two burnt houses with the one in the middle being fine except for the lawn was about half burned, house and trees were untouched.

Granted, these are pretty big properties, probably 1/3 to 1/2 acre lots so they aren't all squished together like in an urban environment, but I thought it was interesting.

On the good news front, the Evacuation order has been downgraded to an Alert for much of the Williams Lake area as of yesterday and my Search and Rescue team has been told we won't likely be needed in the area again for now.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3629072/williams-lake-evacuation-order-lifted-residents-return-home/


Was it good or bad to have mown your lawn?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Ad'lan wrote:
Was it good or bad to have mown your lawn?


Sorry, that could have been worded more clearly.

Mowed lawn was good, long grass gave the fire just enough fuel to keep going and start houses and other buildings on fire as well where short grass it tended to not have enough fuel to sustain itself.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:57 pm 
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Would be interested from hearing from people that Evacuated / Bugged out :

1. what worked well : (a) personal preparation (b) action by the authorities

2. what did not work well (a) + (b)

3. what changes would you make to your personal preparation and action plan in light of what happened.

I have not had to deal with a situation like this so would very much like to learn from the experience of those that have.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:00 pm 
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DJPrepper wrote:
Would be interested from hearing from people that Evacuated / Bugged out :

1. what worked well : (a) personal preparation (b) action by the authorities

2. what did not work well (a) + (b)

3. what changes would you make to your personal preparation and action plan in light of what happened.

I have not had to deal with a situation like this so would very much like to learn from the experience of those that have.

Same here. What worked & what did not?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:33 am 
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I'll preface this by saying that I did not have to evacuate. I was in Williams Lake with my Search and Rescue unit assisting the RCMP delivering evacuation notices.

That being said, I did see a lot of things that worked, some that didn't and a lot of things that didn't make sense.

First off, the Regional District issues an Evacuation Alert to any areas threatened by wildfires... this was both good and bad as there were some areas that were on an Alert for a month with no subsequent evac order. That made people really edgy and there was a lot of wondering on social media if it was necessary. But it also was good as it gave people some early warning so when Evacuation Orders eventually went out people in general were prepared to go.

I personally saw several fires expand at a terrifying rate. It was the primary reason for so many and such widespread Alerts... In the Interior of BC is very rugged country, when main highways get shut down there often isn't a detour to take. This is a problem when there are fires in all directions, there was a moment the second weekend we were there that my only route home was Kamloops, then almost to Calgary before tuning north to get back to Prince George from the east. Normally it's approximately 250km From Prince George to Williams lake. With Highways 97 and 5 both closed the only option is a 1300km detour. Thankfully that did not happen and they were able to keep Highway 5 open.

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/williams+lake/53.902846,-122.7817011/@52.6501492,-122.6855072,8z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m10!1m1!1s0x5380a35be20a5c35:0x50135152a7b2200!2m2!1d-122.1416885!2d52.1416736!3m4!1m2!1d-116.2326434!2d51.4435123!3s0x5377678f6d999abf:0xc8dffdab685d50a1!1m0!3e0

However this was still a 900km trek for the people being evacuated if they needed to get to Prince George.

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/williams+lake/53.902846,-122.7817011/@52.2255562,-122.9683322,7.25z/data=!4m19!4m18!1m15!1m1!1s0x5380a35be20a5c35:0x50135152a7b2200!2m2!1d-122.1416885!2d52.1416736!3m4!1m2!1d-120.3642001!2d50.6547946!3s0x537e2c71df1056ed:0x4590fc39cab189fd!3m4!1m2!1d-119.3009996!2d51.8106165!3s0x538201b677bbd129:0xdbc32f837b6c5b51!1m0!3e0

There were a lot of people that refused to leave as well. Mostly these were ranchers in the area who had livestock to protect and in general they were well prepared, many had heavy equipment and robust watering systems that were adapted to firefighting and structure protection and they tended to have large cleared areas free of trees.

Of greater concern were they people who refused to leave because "The fire won't come here, and if it does, we'll just drive away when we see it." This was problematic for a number of reasons. Many of these areas were very rural, and have a very limited number of access roads. Many locals claimed that there were all sorts of backroads and i'm sure that's true, but looking at how big some of these fires got (as of typing this over 1,000,000 hectares (almost 4000 square miles) of land has been burned and one of the fires very near Williams lake accounts for fully 1/4 of that total) I truly don't see how you would be able to escape them if they got near you.

Also, the smoke... the air quality was so bad that I wore a respirator for 3 days straight and went through a set of P100 filters daily. Any exertion was much more difficult than normal due to having to breathe through a filter, or taking it off and getting more air, but it being so full of particulates that it was hazardous to breathe. Visibility was also exceptionally poor, streetlights came on at about 15:00. Sunset was at 21:30. Once it was dark, it was like driving through a snowstorm, Headlights just show you more ash and we routinely were driving at no more than 30km/hr in some places because of the poor visibility. Thankfully by this point 90% of the city was already gone.

There were also things that didn't work. Social media was a mess. People reporting completely incorrect things they had heard or read as fact which on occasion got picked up by the media. It seemed that a lot of people were getting news from facebook groups or twitter instead of official channels and the noise made it difficult to find the real information. The mayor of Williams Lake took to facebook and started doing several updates a day to help combat this.

A lot of people who were on an evac alert that didn't turn into an order were pretty upset for having to live in fear for days or weeks. I don't know how it could have been handled differently though, We were more or less at the mercy of the wind, where it blew, the fire went and it was changing all the time.

As for how to prepare? It's wildfire. It destroys everything it touches, yet inexplicably leaves things untouched in it's wake sometimes. Getting out of it's way is really the only thing you can do. Have proper insurance, make sure it covers the natural disasters that could happen in your area. Be prepared to be gone for weeks, months if the worst happens. I heard on the radio that there are still about 100 evacuated people still registered with the evacuation shelter here in Prince George. The fires threatening Williams Lake started almost 2 months ago. At it's height we had 10,000 plus evacuees in a city of 80,000 people. Have someplace secure to go, the crime rate in town shot up once everyone was here and there were reports of thieves stealing from evacuees as they had no way to secure their belongings as they slept because they were stored in parking lots and schools with inadequate security at first. This was much worse in the main part of the city, I live on the outskirts in a small neighborhood with poor transit access and not a lot of houses, it stayed quiet here for the most part. This was not the case in the main part of the city, there were many more reports of thefts and break ins than usual. The shitty people got evacuated with everyone else and kept on doing shitty things.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:05 pm 
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slannesh wrote:
Have someplace secure to go, the crime rate in town shot up once everyone was here and there were reports of thieves stealing from evacuees as they had no way to secure their belongings as they slept because they were stored in parking lots and schools with inadequate security at first. This was much worse in the main part of the city, I live on the outskirts in a small neighborhood with poor transit access and not a lot of houses, it stayed quiet here for the most part. This was not the case in the main part of the city, there were many more reports of thefts and break ins than usual. The shitty people got evacuated with everyone else and kept on doing shitty things.


Thanks for the detailed AAR, this was a very interesting read and definitely plenty of things to think about.

This part is of greatest concern (after 1. risk of death by fire, 2. risk of losing your home by fire) that comes out of this.

On another board someone else mentioned similar issues and it seems that those inclined to act this way will exploit such situations without hesitation.

That seems to be a human thing, or at least for many societies, as can be seen in Venezuela or even the reports of looting now in Houston.

Only place I did not hear about this sort of thing happening : Japan / Fukushima. Then again their Society is dramatically different from most others (good and bad).


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