The Regional District of East Kootenay is advising that 229 properties in the Fairmont area remain on Evacuation Alert. The alert was first posted earlier this week after intense weekend rains.
“The good news is that the forecasted thunderstorms did not materialize, and although we did have additional rain yesterday, there are no noticeable changes in the upper debris basins,” said RDEK Information Officer Loree Duczek. “Having said that, the Evacuation Alert will remain in place until we are able to remove the debris from the basins and restore capacity within the system.”
With the debris basins on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek near capacity, the potential for debris flooding remains high, particularly with the unsettled spring weather and onset of spring freshet. “The accumulated debris has reduced the capacity of the creeks to withstand a future event, and until we can restore that capacity, the risk remains,” adds Duczek.
The RDEK is now working with geotechnical experts to determine when the basins can be safely accessed with equipment and how much debris needs to be removed before the Alert can be lifted. Once the geotechnical recommendations have been submitted, the RDEK will work with the appropriate regulatory agencies to undertake the work as quickly and safely as possible.
In the interim, the RDEK is asking residents in the Evacuation Alert area to remain aware, to have a grab-and-go kit prepared and to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice should conditions worsen and an evacuation order needs to be issued.
Residents around the East Kootenay are also being urged to sign up for the regional Evacuation Notification System (ENS) if they have not already done so.
“I cannot stress enough how important this tool is in our toolbox. Emergencies can happen at any time and this notification system will alert people immediately when every second counts,” stresses Duczek.
“We have 229 properties in the Fairmont Evacuation Alert area – and as of Tuesday night, only 60 people had signed up for the notification service. Those people received the notification in under one minute. The door to door notification to those 229 properties took our hardworking members from the RCMP, fire department and Search and Rescue six hours to complete. No matter where you live in the East Kootenay please sign up for the notification system today.”