A late season wildfire has put the community of Hudson’s Hope and parts of the Peace River Regional District on evacuation order.
The Battleship Mountain wildfire, which has been a wildfire of note since before the start of the month ablaze just eight kilometers outside of Hudson’s Hope, is considered out of control.
Shannon Street, a Fire Information Officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the fire was last estimated at 29,614 hectares, and that the fire is expected to continue to grow based on weather conditions and its current location.
According to Street, there are 46 BC Wildfire Service personnel and 56 structure protection personnel from all across the province at the site of the fire, as well as 18 pieces of heavy equipment and 12 helicopters.
“Currently the Peace River Regional District and the District of Hudson’s Hope both have evacuation orders put in place” she said.
“We are a population around 900” the Mayor of Hudson’s Hope, Dave Heiberg, told My PG Now. “The majority of the population has followed the evacuation orders and left.”
“The district was on evacuation alert for some time prior to the order coming through. We were all prepared as a community to go if the order was to come down” he said.
On Saturday (September 10), a small area of Hudson’s Hope known locally as 12 mile road was put on an evacuation order.
“The fire seemed to be acting very unruly at that time” said Heiberg. The evacuation order was expanded to cover the entire municipality later that night.
“When you go from an alert to an order, it is an anxious moment for a lot of folks.”
The community was moved to Fort St. John, where the Mayor said over 600 residents of Hudson’s Hope have registered.
It is the choice of an individual person to evacuate or not, Heiberg said his daughter and her husband had to stay behind because of their respective jobs.
“Grandma and I said we would take the kids. So we did that, and we moved to Fort St. John.”
Despite the unavoidable stress of the situation he said the community has handled the transition very well.
“Everybody is positive, everybody is understanding the situation, everybody’s needs are being met, I have had no negative feedback at all from anyone I have talked to, and I have talked to a lot of folks.”
Today is the fourth full day of the evacuation order, and residents of Hudson’s Hope are starting to settle in the Fort.
“There has been a reception center established, evaluating what evacuees may need” Heiberg said.
The displaced people are being housed in hotels, RVs, and some are staying with family and friends.
Some local restaurants that signed up are providing free meals to evacuated people, being reimbursed by Emergency Management BC.
Pet accommodations, children’s activities, and many other areas of the community have embraced Hudson’s Hope with arms wide open.
“I am going to investigate all of those things, and there are going to be some serious letters written when the dust settles to thank the folks in Fort St. John because they have been absolutely amazing” Heiberg said.
The mayor added that the people from the BC Wildfire Service are very experienced, and doing everything they can to help.
“Council, and me, the mayor, are trying to keep the community as informed as best we can to make sure everyone is getting the most updated and accurate information on a timely basis.”
Heiberg is also asking the public, “if you got any connections, send some rain will you?”