22 people ordered to evacuate as Kamloops declares state of emergency due to unstable slope

The City of Kamloops, B.C., has declared a state of emergency and 22 people have been ordered evacuated from their homes due to an unstable slope.

Slope near Sun Peaks turnoff showed signs of instability earlier in April

A slope in the Palmer-Forsyth area north of Kamloops has started sliding forcing the evacuation of 22 people. (City of Kamloops)

The City of Kamloops, B.C. has declared a state of emergency and 22 people have been evacuated from their homes due to an unstable slope.

Monitoring equipment will be set up at 10 locations on the hillside as engineers try to get a handle on the situation.

According to the City of Kamloops, the evacuees are being offered emergency support and 24-hour security has been set up to control access to the evacuated residences.

Tammy Robertson, a spokesperson for the city, said the slope — north of the Rayleigh subdivision, near the turnoff to Sun Peaks — first showed signs of instability on April 10 due to pooling water, sloughing debris onto Highway 5 below.

"In the last week or so, we've noticed that there's been more movement on that slope, which has caused us enough concern that we wanted to proactively address the situation and ensure that public safety was top of mind, and we have issued an evacuation order," Robertson said.

The evacuation order was issued around 3 p.m. PT Thursday, and residents were notified around 4:30 p.m. By Thursday evening, 22 evacuees had registered with the city's emergency response centre.

So far, there have been no injuries reported, and the highway remains open.

Robertson says the city will continue to monitor the slope for any changes and act accordingly.

"Our hope is that we see a drying trend, so that the slope will start to naturally stabilize because of the reduction of water in it," she said.

"If we continue to see more moisture, more rainfall, we'll just have to look at doing what we can to mitigate any further slope movement."

A map shows the area affected by the evacuation order, along Highway 5, near the turnoff to Sun Peaks. (City of Kamloops)