British Columbia

Quesnel, Williams Lake under state of emergency due to flooding

A state of emergency has been declared in both Quesnel and Williams Lake due to flooding and erosion. An evacuation order has been issued for several properties in Williams Lake.

Several properties under evacuation order in Williams Lake, no evacuations ordered in Quesnel

Water breaches the banks of Baker Creek in Quesnel, B.C., on Friday. (Fritz Wyssen)

A state of emergency has been declared in both Quesnel and Williams Lake due to ongoing flooding and erosion in the Cariboo Chilcotin region.

In Williams Lake, an evacuation order has been issued for several industrial properties on Frizzi Road and the River Valley Trail. 

Access to the trail is closed. The city said Friday in a statement the area is not safe due to high stream flow, unstable slopes, road washouts and potential impacts to city infrastructure.

At least two pedestrian bridges in the area are impassable.

Residents of 86 homes in the Green Acres Mobile Home Park are also under an evacuation alert. The homes are not under "imminent threat," the city said, but residents are being asked to prepare for the possibility of having to leave at a moment's notice. 

In Quesnel, a state of emergency has been declared due to the risk of flooding along Baker Creek. No evacuations have been ordered.

The state of local emergency allows the city to respond to the threat of flooding, which could damage infrastructure, property or the environment, the city said in the release. 

Residents are being asked to stay away from the Baker Creek area and the banks of all rivers and creeks.

Chilako River expected to continue to rise

The Caribou Regional District is "strongly advising" ranchers and farmers to prepare for potential impacts to their property and livestock due to ongoing flooding in the Cariboo Chilcotin region.

This includes moving livestock to higher ground, placing sandbags around buildings and having a plan to shelter in place for at least three days.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a flood warning Friday for the Chilako River near Prince George, after it rose nearly 35 centimetres in a day. 

The river and its tributaries southwest of Prince George are expected to continue to rise, possibly into the weekend, the
forecast centre reported.

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George issued evacuation orders late Thursday for 40 properties on part of Upper Mud River Road near the Chilako River, 30 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

Evacuees are being sheltered at two hotels in Prince George.

The river rose to levels last seen during a 2018 flood, which prompted the evacuation order.

"The rate of water rising was quite high,'' said Renee McCloskey, a spokeswoman for the regional district.

"The concern is more about the access in and out of the area as opposed to homes,'' she said. "It's really about that road access in and out and being cut off.''

Flood warnings remain posted by the forecast centre for the Nazko and West Road rivers, the Cariboo and Chilcotin regions and waterways around Williams Lake, Quesnel, Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake and Cache Creek.

The rising water levels have also led to road washouts across the Cariboo region, with roads around Horsefly, McLeese Lake and Nazko closed due to the rising water.

In 150 Mile House, Cariboo officials were maintaining evacuation alerts posted earlier in the week for 29 homes on Boreland Creek.

The forecast centre's daily update says Boreland Creek was flowing at levels seen only every 50 to 100 years, but analysts also reported levels were holding steady.

The Village of Cache Creek remained under a local state of emergency, 10 properties were evacuated and a village spokeswoman said 15 more homes were added Friday to the dozens already on alert.

"It is quite stressful,'' said Paramjit Parihar, owner of the Cache Creek Motor Inn, which was given an evacuation order earlier this week. "We're going through the coronavirus and then this happened.''

Part of the creek has risen onto his property, he added.

Close to 500 people around the village had been advised to be ready to leave on short notice.

With files from The Canadian Press

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