Hundreds of wildfire evacuees from B.C.’s southern Cariboo region were under evacuation order on Saturday night, but not everyone chose to leave town.
The village of Clinton, which has a population of about 650, was told to evacuate around 4:40 p.m. PT due to the nearby Elephant Hill wildfire. Local residents had been under evacuation alert for weeks.
Linda LePage has asthma and left her home early, while her husband stayed behind with the property.
“The sky was all red. It was pretty scary,” she said of her drive out of town. “I couldn’t breathe at all, I had to get out … I only had one headlight so I drove to Barrière [188 kilometres away] and then I pulled over.”
“I’m really stressed,” LePage told CBC News after finally arriving in Kamloops.
She said she was worried about another property she and her husband own in Horse Lake, where another wildfire is raging nearby.
Evacuation orders expanded
Later Saturday, the evacuation order was expanded to include the Chasm Mill site, properties along Highway 97 to the north and south of Clinton and an area around Green Lake, including 70 Mile House.
An evacuation order for the Clisbako area — about 100 kilometres west of Quesnel — was also expanded.
Ed Ryhal lives in Green Lake, but he’s staying put with his wife and three grandchildren.
“I don’t want to leave just yet. I’ve heard stories about looters and we’re just hoping that that fire peters out,” he said. “The bad part is, if you leave, you can’t come back. That bothers me. We’ve retired here, we love the place and we’ve got too much invested and we don’t want to go.”
He said they’ll hit the road “when grandma” says so.
In Green Lake, where everyone in the community has either…