A flood watch is in place for the Bulkley River near Smithers and the water is expected to keep rising.

Smithers gets flood-ready as water rises

The public is being warned to stay clear of the Bulkley River as Smithers prepares for possible flooding.

Bulkley Valley residents are being warned to stay clear of rising waterways as the Town of Smithers starts distributing sandbags for residents in low-lying areas.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre yesterday issued a flood watch warning for the Bulkley River, which is rising by about 20cm per day in the Smithers area.

It said the flood conditions were caused by unseasonably warm weather melting snowpack.

The forecast predicts the river could reach flood levels today or Thursday and it is expected to keep rising until the weekend.

Homes in low-lying areas such as Ebenezer Flats and the area at the end of Main Street are at greater risk of flooding.

Smithers Fire Rescue fire chief Keith Stecko said the Town of Smithers was distributing sandbag materials to residents at the end of Main Street as a precautionary measure.

We have a low-lying area at the end of Main Street that is significantly … at risk,” said Stecko.

“Generally during flood-time we’re in contact with those residents.

“As a precaution the Town of Smithers will be laying out sand-bags and sand for the residents, if they so choose then they can begin to sandbag their residence.”

He urged the public to stay away from local waterways and riverbanks, which could be unstable due to saturation and fast-flowing water.

“The Town of Smithers wants to make it clear to our public to stay well away from the rivers, it’s very dangerous right now,” he said.

“It may be going on for several days, we’re not sure based on what the provincial assessments are so the best thing to do is stay away from the rivers to make sure that our public is safe.”

The River Forecast Centre is also warning people in low-lying areas to move livestock and other possessions of value to higher terrain if possible.

Stecko said the municipality was monitoring the water levels in close contact with the B.C. government.

“This is a live, active moving event so as things change we will either upgrade or downgrade the situation based on what we’re seeing,” he said.

Town of Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach, councillor Gladys Atrill, chief administrative officer Deborah Sargent and fire chief Stecko were at an emergency response workshop in Burns Lake when the flood watch was announced yesterday.

“Obviously it was on everyone’s mind because while we were in the meeting we received the flood watch bulletin from the River Forecast Centre,” said Bacrach.

“There was a response as people in the room whose communities were close to the Bulkley River took the initial steps to respond to a potential emergency.”

Telkwa Fire Rescue fire chief Randy Cunningham said the section of river near his community was being monitored.

He said flood mitigation works completed after past floods were helping to keep Telkwa dry.

“We’re just monitoring the situation and we will see if the river settles down a little bit and if the river keeps coming up, we will see how it goes in the next day or so,” he said.

“We’re just basically at Mother Nature’s beckon call so we will just see what happens here.”

He added the amount of snowpack today was only slightly above normal at 108 per cent, compared with 270 per cent when a major flood happened in 2007.

For flood status and water level updates visit the B.C. River Forecast Centre at http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/index.htm.

 

Just Posted

Search and Rescue needs more funds to finish new facility

Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue Group meets at Ranger Park building but have outgrown the space.

VIDEO: Smithers get its first augmented reality sandbox

Locals got to experience a bit of augmented reality last Wednesday

A diabetes information session will be held this Friday

Smithereens will get a chance to learn more about type I and type II diabetes this week

Kanna Kurihara leads Otters in Prince George

Kanna Kurihara, 10, turned heads at the meet with superb technical abilities in 100 freestyle win.

Wintergold weekend

One of the oldest Christmas craft fairs in Smithers is this Friday and Saturday.

Man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found to appear in court

A rally will be held on the Vernon courthouse steps prior to Curtis Sagmoen’s appearance

B.C. snow plow operator helps save elderly man

The 73-year-old man had fallen at his isolated home, and finally was able to call for help

Wildlife group challenges B.C.’s interpretation of law on destroying bears

Fur-Bearers are challenging a conservation officer’s decision to kill a bear cub near Dawson Creek

Tourism numbers continue to climb in B.C.

The majority of international travellers to British Columbia are coming from Australia

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

VIDEO: Search for missing B.C. dog walker remains a ‘rescue effort’

Annette Poitras was last seen walking three dogs on Monday afternoon

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary charged with attempted murder

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary, home invasion charged with attempted murder; victim remains in hospital

Cannabidiol products available in Summerland

Products contain medical benefits of cannabis, but with no psychoactive properties

Most Read