Heavy smoke form the Ashcroft Reserve fires still blankets the region. (Barbara Roden/Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal)

Thick smokes still blankets Ashcroft

Regional district has created Facebook pages to help direct aid

More evacuation alerts were put in place in Thompson-Nicola Regional District Areas “E” (Bonaparte Plateau), “I” (Blue Sky Country), and “J” (Copper Desert Country) near Cache Creek just before 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 10 after high winds fanned fires in the area. Thick smoke is currently blanketing the area, where the wind has died down.

Highway 97C from Logan Lake to Ashcroft has now been reopened to all traffic in and out, not just local residents. Anyone wanting to visit friends and family in Ashcroft can access the village via this route.

Highway 1 is still closed from 10km south of Cache Creek to 5km east of the town. There is no access from Ashcroft to Cache Creek, except for first responders and emergency personnel. The situation is under assessment.

Highway 97 from Cache Creek to Clinton is closed to all traffic except first responders and emergency personnel.

Highway 99 between Lillooet and Cache Creek is currently open to local traffic only.

For updates on the highway situation, go to DriveBC.

RELATED: Buy a drink, help out B.C. wildfire evacuees

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) is asking residents who are looking to help out during the current crisis to connect through two newly created Facebook pages. The TNRD has set up two public Facebook pages: one for people to provide/access donations and lodging, and one for people to offer volunteer services. You can find these pages at “TNRD Volunteer Connections – Wildfire 2017” and “TNRD Donations and Lodging.”

Currently, the TNRD is receiving dozens of calls from residents eager to help and donate. While the generosity is appreciated, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) needs to keep its phone lines open to serve evacuees and their families as the first priority. The TNRD is hoping the newly created Facebook pages will reduce the number of volunteer- and donation-related calls the EOC is receiving. Reducing these type of calls will mean the EOC staff will have more time to talk with evacuees and their families.

RELATED: Help pours in from all over Canada for evacuees, firefighters in B.C.

The TNRD is encouraging the public to use the newly created Facebook pages to connect with one another and with volunteer agencies. It is also encouraging volunteer agencies to post opportunities and look for potential volunteers through these pages, and encouraging anyone who has already called the EOC with offers of lodging, donations, or wanting to volunteer to post these offers on the appropriate TNRD Facebook pages.

It is important to note that the TNRD will not be vetting posts, will not be posting on behalf of individuals or agencies, and cannot provide logistical support for those looking to drop off donations and/or volunteer.

Canada Post is working on contingency measures to serve the residents of British Columbia displaced by the fires. They will communicate details as soon as possible, as delivery is currently suspended to the areas of: Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, 108 Mile House, Lac la Hache, Little Fort, Alexis Creek, Hanceville, Nemiah Valley, 150 Mile House, Riske Creek, Miocene, Horsefly, Big Lake, Likely, Williams Lake, Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake, and parts of Quesnel.

All mail and parcels destined for these locations will be held securely until plans are in place. Canada Post thanks those affected for their patience in this difficult time.

Airbnb has now listed this area on their world disaster relief site and emailed every host listed in this area inviting them to offer up their accommodations free to people directly affected by the fires and needing short term immediate accommodation. Listings are building in this area. Emergency workers and evacuees and homeless are priority.

RELATED: Airbnb hosts open up their homes to wildfire evacuees

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