Evacuation order lifted in B.C. landslide

Hundreds of residents forced from their homes in in the Meager Creek area, near Pemberton, B.C., have begun returning to their homes following the lifting of an evacuation order.
A farmhouse overlooks the Lillooet River, muddied by a landslide in the Meager Creek area north of Pemberton, B.C., on Friday. ((Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press))
Hundreds of people forced from their residences in the Meager Creek area, near Pemberton, B.C., have begun returning home following the lifting of an evacuation order.

The order was lifted at 10:45 a.m. PT Saturday, as fears of a massive flood lessened.  

About 1,500 people were told to leave late Friday night following a landslide that blocked Meager Creek. 

But the water that had backed up in Meager Creek was able to find a new channel to escape. 

"Any significant threat of flooding has passed," said Leslie Lloyd, information officer for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's emergency operations centre.

The evacuation order was issued for residents in the Lillooet River valley over fears that a lake that formed behind the blocked Meager Creek might give way.

Area remains unstable

Whistler RCMP Sgt. Shawn Lemay told CBC News that the area remains unstable.

"It's not 100 per cent safe," he said.  

The two-kilometre-wide landslide also partially blocked the Lillooet River. Officials say water levels in that river peaked at 3 a.m. PT Saturday at 1.5 metres. But in subsequent hours, the level fell.  

On Friday, search and rescue teams found several campers known to be in the Pemberton Valley area.

Thirteen campers, who were trapped by Friday morning's slide in the Meager Creek Hot Springs area, were safely taken out by helicopter.

The Meager Creek area has been the scene of several large landslides in recent years. A 1998 slide sent more than a million cubic metres of rock and debris down Mount Meager, blocking a creek and creating a lake 800 metres wide.    

With files from The Canadian Press