A community in B.C.’s Southern Interior threatened by post-wildfire landslides will soon have an early warning system in place.
On Tuesday, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) announced that provincial funding had been secured for the $30,000 system, which will assist in alerting residents of the Wiseman Creek area of Sicamous.
Last summer, the Two Mile Road wildfire grew to around 1,000 hectares and forced around 1,000 people from their homes.
Further, a geotechnical engineering study determined that slopes above the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park are now unstable, with residents at risk of a debris flood and possibly a debris flow.
“While both types of landslides can cause damage, a debris flow is more serious because it contains more soil and debris, which can travel farther and faster, and with more impact to whatever is in its path,” said the regional district.
After looking at the risk factors, the CSRD concluded that “the chance of a landslide taking place in the area sometime over the next two years is close to 100 per cent. As such, there is a significant risk to both life and property.”
Two Mile residents warned of post-wildfire debris flow risk
The early warning system is scheduled to be in place by the beginning of April, before spring melt and rainfall increase the risk.
“The system is designed to use weather forecasting data to determine whether an evacuation alert or order would be issued for residents in the area,” said the CSRD.
“The warning system needs to be based on forecasted weather data because, once rain has begun to fall, it is already too late to notify residents of the risk and have them safely evacuate.”
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