BC Debris Flow Hazard Awareness

Debris flows are fast-moving mixtures of water, sediment, boulders and logs that flow down steep mountain creeks. In recent years, debris flows have caused fatalities, near misses and significant property damage in the Kootenays.

This document (pdf) is intended to help you understand this hazard in the Kootenay Region, identify some indicators that could be cause for concern and learn how to report a potential emergency.

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Warmer Temperatures Prompt Spring Flood Reminders

May 15, 2014

With warmer conditions expected to settle in over the next few weeks, and a higher than normal snow pack, the
RDEK is reminding residents about the importance of being aware and prepared for the possibility of spring
The snow pack is currently sitting at about 135% of normal, and we haven’t yet hit our spring freshet. “W e know
we are going to see that snow make its way into our rivers and streams over the next few weeks, but it’s
important to understand that the level of the snow pack is less significant than the way the melting occurs. For
example, if we have a stretch of warm days and cool nights, the melt will be completely different than if we go
into a string of really hot days, warm nights and rain,” says RDEK Communications Manager, Loree Duczek.
“Having said that, there are a number of things the public can do to help themselves and help us be prepared in
the event flooding occurs, including: staying away from fast moving or high water, preparing their properties if
they are in an area that typically experiences spring flooding, and reporting any unusual or rapidly changing
conditions in rivers and streams.”
If people notice creeks or rivers become suddenly chocolat ey brown with large chunks of debris or if the flow
suddenly decreases or stops, they should report it as soon as possible so the situation can be properly assessed
by Provincial Flood Assessors. Additionally, if people are experiencing flooding that is impacting their access or
affecting large areas, it should be reported so local emergency program officials are notified.
The number to call in these situations is 1-800-663-3456. This is a Provincial coordination centre and is the
fastest way to get the best coordinated local response. The only time 9-1-1 should be used is if you feel your life
or the lives of others are in danger.
The RDEK Emergency Programs have secured additional sandbags, are doing a regional inventory of supplies
and resources, and are participating in regular updates with Emergency Management BC, the River Forecast
Centre and Environment Canada. Emergency Program staff have also completed Flood Observer Training. For
information on the RDEK’s Emergency Programs, contact Melody Munro at 250-489-2791 or 1-888-478-7335.
“Living in a mountainous area that enjoys four full seasons, there is always a possibility of seasonal spring
flooding as we transition from winter to summer. The best thing we can do to prepare is use common sense: be
prepared, stay safe by staying away from rivers and streams and report flooding if you see it,” adds Duczek.
Emergency Management BC has extensive flood preparedness information on its website, including everything
from packing an emergency kit to proper sandbagging techniques: www.embc.gov.bc.ca

Media Contact: Loree Duczek
RDEK Communications Manager

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RDEK – Board Highlights – December 2013

Read about what is happening (pdf) in our RDEK meetings;

  • 2014 Board Meeting Schedule
  • Wilmer and Dry Gulch OCP
  • Area A Home Based Business Regulations
  • Winter Road Maintenance
  • RCMP Increased Presence
  • Agricultural Land Reserve
  • Elk Valley Flood Repairs
  • RDEK Working Group Rep
  • Conservation Fund
  • Fairmont Hazard Assessments
  • Broadband Services
  • Area C Library Board
  • Discretionary Grants In Aid

RDEK – Board Highlights – June 2012

Read about what is happening (pdf) in our RDEK meetings;

  • CBT Community Initiatives
  • Fernie Transfer Station
  • Mountain Resort Municipality
  • Columbia Valley Secondary Suites
  • Fernie OCP
  • West Fernie Cost Benefit
  • Wasa Outdoor Rink
  • Timber Ridge Utility
  • Regional Flood Hazard Assessment
  • Ministry of Transportation Road Issues
  • Campground Sewage Disposal
  • Planning for Wilmer & Dry Gulch
  • Coal Discovery Centre Society
  • Squamish Lillooet Regional District
  • Discretionary Grants In Aid


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