Residents trapped by Willox Creek mudslide told to “shelter in place”

Photos taken on the far side of the slide on Mountain View road / photos: Scott Monroe

By Laura Keil & Andrea Arnold

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George is urging McBride residents to avoid the area around a mudslide on Mountain View Road near Willox Creek July 4, 2020, and is requesting that the 30-some residents trapped west of the debris shelter in place. Road access is blocked.

The District warned that debris flows are fast moving and can be volatile and unpredictable.

Sheltering in place requires:
• Avoiding the hazard area
• Remaining in a secure location
• Checking in on neighbors
• Keeping calm and alert
• Monitoring the Regional District website at www.rdffg.bc.ca for further information

Anyone west of the hazard area that requires immediate assistance is asked to contact the Regional District at 250-960-4400 or 1-800-667-1959.

The area above the slide has been assessed by a Ministry Geo Tech out of Kamloops and they said there is a high probability of further instability that would initiate additional debris flow.  The area is being carefully monitored. So far, an estimated 25,000 cubic metres of material has flowed down Willox Creek and onto Mountain View Road.

“Once the weather clears and the area dries, the Ministry will clear the debris and open the road,” said Craig Chambers, Sr. Public Affairs Officer, Government Communications and Public Engagement with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.  “The maintenance contractor has mobilized staff, materials and equipment and is ready to remove the debris when it is safe to do so.”

For the approximately 30 residents on the other side of the debris flow, the instructions are to shelter in place.  Access will be restored when it is safe and at this time, power and telecommunications are still available.  The Ministry, along with the Regional District and Emergency Management British Columbia to ensure all affected residents are safe.

See related coverage here.

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