Chilliwack prepares to take in wildfire evacuees. (Jess Peters/Chilliwack Progress)

Lower Mainland prepares for 13,000 wildfire evacuees

Surrey and Chilliwack have already begun preparations

The Lower Mainland is preparing to take in nearly 13,000 wildfire evacuees from interior B.C., according to Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

Williams Lake was evacuated Saturday afternoon, with evacuees being directed to Little Fort where they will be told further directions of where to proceed. Surrey activated emergency social services Saturday, opening an evacuation centre in Cloverdale.

WATCH: Hwy. 97 goes from empty to busy as evacuees flee Williams Lake

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Some evacuees will be headed to Chilliwack Secondary, Gaetz said.

We are expecting evacuees from Williams Lake to travel to Kamloops tonight with the overflow making their way down here,” said Gaetz. “Some evacuees will travel to the larger group lodging facility in Cloverdale.”

VIDEO: Young parents’ dream turns to nightmare in wildfire

Emergency Management BC is organizing additional lodging in neighbouring cities. The newest wave of evacuees is expected to begin arriving late Saturday or early Sunday, although many have begun to trickle down to the Lower Mainland already.

It’s not just people who are being evacuated. The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team is helping out in Cloverdale and a map of those able to take in or haul livestock has been created here:

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