The RDEK has issued an evacuation alert for 229 properties in the Fairmont area following the intense rainfall since Sunday.
“The prolonged, steady rain has resulted in an increase in water flow and sedimentation in both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek, which has filled our upper debris basins on both systems to near capacity” explains Information Officer Loree Duczek. “As a result of this reduced capacity, and with the forecast of more rain and thunderstorm activity this week, we have issued the evacuation alert out of an abundance of caution and to give people time to prepare to leave on a moment’s notice should conditions worsen.”
The purpose of an alert is to ensure people are aware of the potential danger in their area and take steps to prepare to leave on a moment’s notice should an evacuation order be issued. “Now is the time for people to put together a grab and go kit that they have ready by the door, so that in the event they are asked to evacuate, they are ready to go,” adds Duczek. “Important papers (like insurance papers), medications, valuables, supplies for children and pets, photos or hard drives are all examples of things that can be included.”
In the 24 hours between yesterday morning and this morning, the RDEK’s weather station in Fairmont recorded nearly 44mm of rainfall, which is a 1-in-25-year rainfall event. While the creeks have not overtopped their banks at this time, the concern is that the upper debris traps have been filled near, or to, capacity. With more rainfall in the forecast this week, there is the potential for additional sedimentation, and as a result, debris flooding or a debris flow.
The RDEK has been on site today and will continue monitoring both creeks. At this time, the culverts are flowing freely. Mainroad East Kootenay contracting has also been checking on its culverts. The RDEK, in consultation with its geotechnical professionals, will determine when it is safe for crews to remove the accumulated debris and restore capacity in the system.
The RDEK strongly encourages residents to sign up for the Evacuation Notification System if they have not already done so. “Once people are signed up, they will be directly alerted in the event of evacuation orders or alerts affecting their area. It’s a free system and is easy to sign up for. Details can be found on our website,” says Duczek. Ongoing information updates will be provided via the RDEK’s email group, on its website and social media pages.
The RDEK has also declared a state of local emergency as part of its response to the flooding in Fairmont.
Home were evacuated in Fairmont due to flooding in May 2020 as well.