Cheslatta Carrier Nation’s (CCN) traditional territory present and past fire overview map. (CCN image)

A bittersweet return home for evacuated residents south of Burns Lake

“There’s a lot of anxiety and stress,” says Cheslatta’s senior policy advisor

Although some Southside residents are relieved to return home after being evacuated for weeks, for some the return home means adjusting to a new reality.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and stress,” described Mike Robertson, Senior Policy Advisor for Cheslatta Carrier Nation. “Power is out… people in the agriculture industry have woodlots, and a lot of those woodlots that were a pretty important part of their income are gone now.”

Robertson said the permitting process put in place by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has also been adding to the anxiety and stress.

The RDBN has been granting permits for people to take certain supplies to Southside residents who have chosen to stay behind. However, even with the permit people are not allowed to go into the Southside.

READ MORE: People with permits now allowed to take supplies to Southside residents

“This permitting process has basically turned all the Southsiders into liars, pirates and smugglers,” said Robertson. “We’re finding back routes, and we’ve had to sneak people in at nighttime on the water… it’s just ridiculous.”

Robertson was able to return home last week like the rest of the Cheslatta members after approximately 20 days of evacuation.

“It’s a relief to me, but I feel bad for my fellow Southsiders that are still in the [evacuation] order area,” he said. “Those people have been through hell over the past month.”

Although portions of the evacuation orders issued for the Verdun Mountain and Nadina Lake fires were rescinded last week, evacuation orders remain in effect for the Southside as of press time.

For the most up-to-date information about evacuation orders and alerts, visit

Re-entry considerations

The RDBN has been advising residents to take basic precautions when returning home. These include:

– Thoroughly checking for hazards on your property, paying special attention to any danger trees that may be present;

– Before using your water for consumption, flush the system to remove all stagnant water from your household water lines by running all cold and hot water taps for at least five minutes before using them;

– When you are trying to decide what food to keep or throw away, be safe and always remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Dispose of:

– Any unrefrigerated raw vegetables or fruits, or any foods that were stored in porous containers (e.g. cardboard, foam containers, etc.);

– Food that was in bowls on counters/tables;

– Food that shows signs of damage from heat or fire, including ash or smoke;

– Any food displaying an off odour or signs of spoilage.

For questions about re-entry of livestock, contact the RDBN at 250-692-3195 or 1-800-320-3339.

For questions about fluctuations in electrical service quality, contact BC Hydro at 1-888-769 3766.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Burns Lake residents honour Jessica Patrick

The 18-year-old Lake Babine Nation member from Smithers has recently lost her life

Area restrictions rescinded in northwest B.C.

The orders will be rescinded Sept. 19 at noon

Burns Lake participates in the 55+ Games

This year’s 55+ BC Games (previously the BC Seniors Games) had 16… Continue reading

Verdun Mountain and Nadina Lake fires 100 per cent contained

Area restriction orders in effect for several fires

Vigil for Jessica Patrick

VIDEOS: Hundreds honour a young mother who lost her life. Jessica Patrick was 18.

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read