Localized flooding hits the Elk Valley
After a week of warm weather and more rain hitting the Elk Valley on Sunday, the rapid melting of snow and runoff has led to localized flooding throughout the region.
Several homes and businesses have reported water in basements, as well as pooling or running water in yards. At this point, no one within the Regional District of East Kootenay has been displaced from their homes.
For those affected, sand and sandbags are available at the Fernie Mainroad Contracting yard on Dicken Road and Shop Road. A crew from the Wildfire Management Branch filled over 2,000 sandbags by hand in the Elk Valley Sunday and Monday and with the help of an automatic sandbagger are expected to fill a few thousand more today.
Members of the Jaffray Volunteer Fire Department assisted with pumping and diverting water Monday night at a residence in Jaffray as rapid melting started to cause some overland flooding. The unit crew from the Wildfire Management Branch also assisted with sandbagging in Jaffray. Sand and sandbags are available at the Jaffray Pub and Sunrise Grill parking lot. There will also be sand and empty bags for residents to self fill if the supply of filled bags runs out.
With the run-off conditions seeing little change and stockpiles of sandbags completed in Fernie yesterday, Emergency Management B.C. recalled the unit crews and they will no longer be available to assist.
“We are so grateful to the Wildfire Management Branch and the members of the unit crews who have been working long hours doing everything from filling sandbags by hand to placing sandbags from Gold Creek to Fernie and all points in between,” said Information Officer Loree Duczek. “This is hard, physical work and many people have been able to access sandbags quickly under rapidly changing conditions this week thanks to their efforts.”
Although the unit crews have been pulled out, the need for sandbagging in the Jaffray area remains. “There is a lot of water starting to run in Jaffray and we would like to be ready if the forecasted warmer temperatures materialize this week and the water levels start to increase there,” commented Duczek.
Although the self fill sandbag station will remain at the Jaffray Pub parking lot, the members of the Jaffray Volunteer Fire Department will be filling sandbags tonight starting at 7:30 pm. Anyone in the community interested in helping is asked to bring a shovel.
The forecast is calling for drier conditions and temperatures between 8 and 10 degrees above zero for the next few days. The Regional District of East Kootenay is advising people to stay off lakes and away from rivers, streams, and creeks as ice conditions can be highly unpredictable given the current conditions.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Mainroad Contracting are also working on a number of issues along roads and highways in the Elk Valley. For the latest road conditions, visit www.drivebc.ca.