Albertans fleeing wildfires are beginning to show up in B.C., according to the mayor of Valemount.
Mayor Owen Torgerson told Castanet the visitors began arriving in his community on Saturday morning. Valemount is the first significant stopping point for anyone travelling from Northern Alberta into B.C.’s Interior.
“I’m not entirely sure of the evacuation orders for those communities, but certainly we are seeing them,” he said, noting some are staying the night and others are just passing through.
“My understanding is some of them have properties in the Shuswap area, but again, that’s just from talking to folks.”
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Saturday more than 24,000 Albertans have been ordered to leave their homes due to wildfire.
The province has recorded 45 new wildfires since Friday morning, bringing the number of active fires to more than 100. An estimated 121,000 hectares had been scorched as of Saturday.
Torgerson said Valemount — 320 kilometres north of Kamloops on Highway 5 — will welcome anyone fleeing the Alberta fires.
“The town is open. We’re ready to receive,” he said.
“Emergencies like these can spring up any time and people need to be on the ready.”