Wildfire evacuees are being warned by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) that there is a "critical shortage" of places to stay in Kamloops and the surrounding area.
The TNRD issued an evacuation order for 169 properties in Spences Bridge on Wednesday morning due to the fast-moving Lytton Creek wildfire, and another order for 103 properties in the Bonaparte Plateau area because of the Young Lake fire.
In both orders, the TNRD advised that evacuees will need to stay with people they know, if possible.
“There is a critical shortage of commercial accommodations in Kamloops and throughout the region,” the TNRD said.
“If your primary residence has been evacuated, we recommend that you arrange to stay with friends or family.”
Spences Bridge evacuees were told, unless they had friends or family with which to stay, to head to a high school in Chilliwack — a three-hour drive due to highway closures.
Emergency Management BC executive director Pader Brach acknowledged Thursday that the situation is not ideal.
“We recognize and understand that some of the distances that’s required for travellers, or for those that have evacuated, it’s longer than what would normally be something that we’ve experienced,” he said.
“This unprecedented fire season has certainly created challenges with evacuees and challenges in finding places to stay and accommodations to stay at.
"So we just ask that communities continue to do everything they can to support evacuees with the knowledge that, right now, based on the number of fires in B.C., we’re doing the best we can to find accommodations for evacuees.”
As of 7 p.m. July 22, there were 272 active wildfires burning across the province, with 5,084 homes under evacuation order and 17,489 under alert, according to Emergency Management BC.