Water rushing down Sportsmens Bowl Road near the junction with Highway 97 spills over stacks of sandbags, even as B.C. Wildfire Service crews work to bolster the area’s barriers. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

B.C. steps up flood response as interior braces for snow melt

Wildfire-ravaged communities brace for spring floods

The province is stepping up its flood prevention measures as it gets ready for the spring snowmelt.

Parts of the southern interior are already seeing heavy flooding as nearly 150 homes were evacuated in Tulameen this weekend.

The Cariboo region has also been hit and the Nazko Valley, about 100 kilometres west of Quesnel, has been evacuated.

In an update earlier this month, the province’s River Forecast Centre said that the provincial snowpack of nearly 130 per cent of average (calculated from a 60-year average) could lead to heavy flooding, particularly in the wildfire-ravage portions of the interior.

READ: Highways reopened, but Cache Creek braces for more flooding

Heavy melts in those regions could lead to riverbank erosion, as well as damage to dikes.

“Due to the fires, there’ll be a lot more debris in rivers going downstream … which can lead to erosion along banks and dykes,” hydrologist Jonathan Boyd told reporters last week.

READ: B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

The flood risk from a snowpack of above 135 per cent is classified as extreme, leading to concerns for the Okanagan where the snowpack sits at 152 per cent.

To help coordinate the flood response, the province has activated its Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre near Saanich and the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centres in Kamloops, Prince George and in Nelson to help out local governments.

So far, two million sandbags have been used to help protect homes and public buildings with the help of six sandbag machines and 140 BC Wildfire Service firefighters, who have been deployed throughout the province.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nearly 1,500 heavy equipment items and trucks at Chilliwack auction

Massive sale of used work machinery at Ritchie Bros. auctioneers on May 30

Giant brewing tanks make landfall in Chilliwack

Road closures coming as tanks continue journey to Molson Coors site.

UPDATE: One dead, two in hospital after Highway 1 crash near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

RCMP renew call for info on girl who went missing 35 years ago

Plea sparked by National Missing Child Day

Trans Mountain pipeline: Is it worth the risk?

Concerns range from the threat of an oil spill to the impact of tanker traffic on wildlife

Forest fire breaks out near Upper Pitt River Hatchery

BC Wildfire says no structures are at risk

Heavy police presence after reported shooting in Richmond

Reports say a man was hit while riding a motorcycle

B.C. to spend $181M to create 200 general practitioner jobs

Jobs will go to new medical school graduates

Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Justin Trudeau’s infamous trip to India earlier this year was the focus of many of the jabs

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

No more Canada Day parade at Canada Place

Annual Vancouver parade has been cancelled due to costs

Most Read