Billy Barker Days Cancelled

News Release
For immediate release

2017 Billy Barker Days’ Festival Cancelled

Quesnel, B.C. – July 11, 2017 – The not-for-profit organizations coordinating events for the 2017 Billy Barker Days Festival met on July 10th to consider cancellation of this years’ events.

The wildfires in the Cariboo are not contained and the weather forecast for this week calls for wind and high temperatures. This decision was not only necessary but made out of respect and empathy for those displaced from their homes and the personnel working on these fires.

The rationale for cancellation is as follows:

1.     Travel throughout the Cariboo is limited and the Emergency Operation Centre recommends that any unnecessary traffic be minimized on all highways in the area.

2.     Our area already has a high concentration of particulates in the air, which could worsen depending on the surrounding fires and winds. This can present medical issues for those with respiratory conditions.

3.     The RCMP – Quesnel Detachment are fully engaged in evacuation and traffic control (roadblocks) throughout the North Cariboo and not able to provide the required support for the festival.

4.     Prior to the increased urgency in our area, the Quesnel Fire Department sent a crew and a Fire Engine to assist 100 Mile House, so their ability to respond to local calls for service is limited.

5.     Currently, G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital is working over capacity due to receiving patients from hospitals in evacuated communities. Billy Barker Days always represents an increased work load, and their resources are already stretched.

6.     All emergency operations agencies agree that it is important that Quesnel is able to respond with assistance to our neighbors, should we need to accommodate evacuees or provide support. Additionally, should the wildfire situation impact Quesnel directly, we need to be in a position to move swiftly. We need to keep facilities, parks and personnel available and roads clear should the fire situation change and local support be required.

For up to date information, please visit the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operation Facebook page or call their Public Information Line at 1-866-759-4977.


Mayor Bob Simpson, City of Quesnel
“The City of Quesnel fully supports the Billy Barker Days’ Society’s decision to cancel this years’ event. This is the right decision during this uncertain time and, our focus needs to be with those affected and those fighting tirelessly to assist and mitigate the ongoing emergent nature of the wildfire situation throughout the Cariboo.”

Maureen Murray, President, Quesnel Billy Barker Days’ Society
“Out of respect for the wellbeing of our community, the Billy Barker Days Society has decided to cancel the 2017 Billy Barker Days Festival.”

Tim Cawdell, Executive Director, Quesnel Downtown Association
“The Quesnel Downtown Association feels that proceeding with the Billy Barker Days Festival would put locals, visitors, and vendors in an unsafe situation and have cancelled their Gold Dust Mall event.”

Ray Jasper, President, Quesnel Rodeo Club
“The Quesnel Rodeo Club has cancelled the 2017 rodeo. This decision was made in consultation with emergency services, the Billy Barker Days’ Society and all other event and City representatives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those on the fire lines including some of our Rodeo members.“

Dustin Brown, Quesnel Auto Racing Association
“The Quesnel Auto Racing Association supports the decision to cancel the Billy Barker Days’ festival and will not be proceeding with Crash to Pass or the Saturday races, as safety of our racers and the public comes first. Our thoughts are with those affected by the fires.”


Media Contact
Teann Ingram
Communications Clerk
T: 250-991-7475