North

Rock slide blocks only road to Telegraph Creek, B.C.

Crews are busy trying to clean up a large rock slide that's blocked the only road to the northern B.C. community of Telegraph Creek.

'The work is very risky and touchy ... so the progress is slow,' says Tahltan Band chief about the cleanup

A large rock slide on Tuesday blocked the only road to Telegraph Creek, B.C. It could be a few more days before the road is passable again. (TranBC)

It could be several days before there's road access to the remote community of Telegraph Creek, B.C.

On Tuesday, a large rock slide blocked the only road into and out of the northern community, and cleaning it up is proving to be tricky.

"It's on a very steep grade," said Tahltan Band Chief Rick Mclean.

"The work is very risky and touchy, and we've got to make sure that the workers are safe who are working below it. So the progress is slow."

Mclean said the rock can't simply be pushed down into the river below, so excavators are loading it into gravel trucks and moving it out of the area. The road is narrow so even turning a vehicle around is tough.

Mclean said it could be Sunday before the area is cleared and the road re-opens.

Groceries have been flown in by helicopter, so Mclean says there's no concern at this point about supplies and shortages. The community also has an airport.

Tahltan Band Chief Rick Mclean says it's a tricky area to work in, as it's on a steep slope with little room to move. (TranBC)

Ongoing impacts of wildfire

Mclean says the slide is more fallout from last year's destructive wildfire. The town was under an evacuation order for 102 days in late 2018, and dozens of structures — including 21 homes — were destroyed by the fire.

"With all the lack of the soils and the root systems that burnt off last year, [it] has created a series of unstable slopes ... so we are experiencing these slides and slope failures as we get a lot of moisture and rain," he said.

"There's ongoing impacts that we learn of every day."

The evacuation order in Telegraph Creek was lifted almost exactly a year ago. The community is still rebuilding.

The community is still rebuilding after dozens of buildings and homes were destroyed by a wildfire last year. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Mclean says nine new homes are currently being built.

"You know we haven't taken our foot off the gas at all since this disaster has happened — and it's taken a toll on our front line workers and teams," he said. 

Written by Paul Tukker, with files from Leonard Linklater

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