Rockslides, fires, freshet’s and emergency preparedness in Hope

Recent rockslides, fires, and the arrival of freshet season has the Fire Chief giving the cue to get those emergency kits firmly in place

A rockslide occured at Mt. Hope last Tuesday. There was no immediate risk to public safety according to the Province of B.C.

The District of Hope Fire Department received a call around 3:30 p.m. last Tuesday that a rock slide was visible from downtown on Mt. Hope.  The slide occurred about two thirds of the way up the mountain with rocks continuing to fall later into the day and evening.

“With no immediate evidence of risk to public safety the Province of B.C. was contacted and through the Emergency Management Program, arrangements were made for an engineer to tour the site by helicopter the next day,” said Fire Chief Tom DeSorcy.

The District of Hope along with the Province of B.C. had the rock fall on Mt. Hope assessed and have concluded that it poses no immediate concerns.

“We’ve been advised that broken rock remains near the area and future rock fall could be expected, however it is far above the community,” said DeSorcy.  “As we live in a mountainous area these types of events are often commonplace and residents are reminded to be aware and prepared in the event of an emergency”.

Being prepared for an emergency is essential according to DeSorcy. With emergency preparedness week well underway, citizens are encouraged to put an emergency kit together.

Although it can be time consuming and expensive, it can be done incrementally and should at the very minimum provide enough support for up to 72 hours.

“People have to be prepared that they could be alone a lot longer than 72 hours — it’s important to have food and water and medical supplies on hand,” he said.

Things like cash, cell phones, and credit cards might not be valuable at all during a crisis situation, where in all likelihood, a timely response to individual 911 calls will not happen according to the Fire Chief.

Information on kits and other protocol in the event of an emergency can be found at gov.bc.ca/PREPAREDBC.

DeSorcy also wants the public to know that fire season is upon us and that people should take precaution at all times, and be sure to adhere to all fire safety rules.

“A brush fire broke out on the North side of Kawkawa Lake on Sunday at 6 p.m,” said DeSorcy. “We investigated smoke, but we couldn’t find the fire because of the inaccessible terrain. A Wildland firefighting crew from Haig was deployed and were able to put the fire out successfully.”

The cause of the fire is unknown, but has spurred The Fire Department to send out warnings to cigarette smokers and to the general public that fire season is here, and it’s hot and dry.

Along with fire season, freshet season, is upon the Fraser River A freshet typically describes the melting process of ice and snow in Canadian rivers in the spring. The process can last several weeks and create flooding with the dissolving of the snow pack.

“It’s happening a bit earlier than normal,” said DeSorcy. “The snow pack is in good shape and barring any extreme weather pattern patterns, it looks like it’s going to be normal. I’m optimistic that there will be an average flood risk this year.”