Emergency Wildfire Evacuation Exercise to Take Place in Spring Creek April 18 

Publication Date: April 4, 2024


Drill will give Whistler’s emergency teams a practice run at disaster response 

April 4, 2024: Whistler, B.C. – Emergency preparedness in Whistler is shifting into summer mode. Thursday, April 18, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), Whistler Fire Rescue Services (WFRS) and RCMP will be running an emergency wildfire evacuation drill in designated areas of the Spring Creek neighbourhood. The full exercise will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, with efforts focused on Spring Creek from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  

During this time, about 30 emergency management staff will respond to a simulated scenario. Residents will not be evacuated during the drill and will be minimally impacted. 

Here’s what to expect:  

  • A series of test notifications from the Whistler Alert system will be sent to those who’ve signed up to receive emergency alerts via text message, phone, and email.  
  • Emergency vehicles will be active on the roads in Whistler: fire trucks will be heading to the “wildfire” site, and RCMP will be dispatched to Spring Creek to aid with the “evacuation.”  
  • Within Spring Creek, RCMP may cause some disruption as they knock on doors, simulating evacuation notices.    
  • An evacuee reception centre will be set up at the Spring Creek Fire Hall.  

Approximately 184 residences will be part of the “evacuation zone,” with efforts focused around the Bear Ridge complex on Spring Creek Drive.  

Spring Creek Community School, Spring Creek Daycare, Spring Creek Community Centre, PearlSpace, and Zero Ceiling will not be part of the evacuation exercise. 

Key staff at the RMOW receive Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) training through the Justice Institute of BC. This helps with the development of skills and tools to use when responding to emergencies or disasters. Running through a mock-emergency scenario brings it all to life, providing an invaluable opportunity to practice, and determine gaps that may need to be filled, outside of a real emergency scenario. The lessons learned from the exercise are expected to highlight key areas to improve in terms of planning, public engagement, notifications, and the evacuation process. 

This fire season, and those that follow, are expected to be more severe. Increased emergency preparedness is an important adaptation to climate change.    

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of communities in B.C. affected by natural disasters – disasters that have required significant evacuation efforts,” says Whistler’s mayor, Jack Crompton. “Because of the shifts we’re seeing with climate change, these events are becoming more common. Just this past summer we saw wildfires devastate the community of Gunn Lake. I know that hit home for many of us. What we can take from this is that emergency preparedness is more important than ever. The alarm has been raised. We need to mitigate the risks, adapt, and plan for all possibilities.” 

Those in the Spring Creek “evacuation zone” who’d like to gain a greater understanding of the evacuation process can take direction from the RCMP as they issue evacuation notices door-to-door and make their way to the evacuation reception centre as mock “evacuees.”  

The RMOW strongly suggests all Whistlerites sign up for Whistler Alert to prepare for future potential emergency scenarios. Whistler Alert is the official emergency notification system used by the RMOW to communicate with residents and visitors during emergencies. Those who sign up will receive alerts via text message, phone, and email in the case of emergencies that may impact their health, safety or property. 

Those with questions about the exercise can reach out to eocwhistler@whistler.ca.  

For more information on Emergency and Protective Services for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, visit whistler.ca/emergency.   

About the Resort Municipality of Whistler  

Situated within the shared, unceded territory of the L̓il̓wat7úl (Líl̓wat People) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish People), the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is a destination resort community, local government organization and leader in providing municipal programs, services, progressive planning and infrastructure for almost 14,000 permanent residents and over three million annual visitors. Whistler is located approximately two hours north of Vancouver along the picturesque Sea-to-Sky Highway and within the epic Coast Mountain range.     

Our vision: A place where our community thrives, nature is protected and guests are inspired.  

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