Fairmont Creek, Hoodoos Mountain Resort and Spruce Grove remain under evacuation alert due to potential for heavy rain and increased runoff

By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

Evacuation alerts in place in and around Fairmont Hot Springs and Dutch Creek as of last week remained in place early this week as the Pioneer went to press.

In the past several weeks, evacuation alerts were issued for more than 200 properties in Fairmont Hot Spring, close Cold Spring Creek and Fairmont Creek, after a 1-in-25 year rainfall event caused debris to fill up Fairmont’s flood and debris flow mitigation systems. By Friday, June 4, the alert for those properties near Cold Spring Creek had been rescinded after work crews removed at least 98 loads of debris from the system well ahead of schedule. Removal of debris from the mitigation system on Fairmont Creek was ongoing, meaning the evacuation alert there is still in effect.

The weekend after the Cold Spring Creek alert was lifted, however, a new alert and a new evacuation order came into effect as nearby Dutch Creek rose over its banks. The new alert was for the 146 sites at the Hoodoos Mountain Resort, and the new evacuation order was for the 50 sites at Spruce Grove Campground & RV Resort in Fairmont. Starting at 2 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, those staying at Spruce Grove were moved to nearby resorts or other campgrounds, and then 36 hours later, the order was downgraded to an evacuation alert.

As of the Pioneer press deadline on Tuesday, June 15, all three of these evacuation alerts — Fairmont Creek, the Hoodoos Mountain Resort area, and Spruce Grove — are still in effect. 

Evacuation Alert area for Fairmont – maps provided by RDEK

“The evacuation alerts remain in place at this time. With the potential for thunderstorms through (Tuesday, June 15) and the potential for heavy rain — or increased runoff with high elevation snowpack due to the high temperatures, they remain in effect,” Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) information officer Loree Duczek told the Pioneer earlier this week.

Flooding from a swollen Toby Creek had temporarily closed Toby Creek Road west of Panorama Mountain Resort, but crews were out working, and as of Tuesday, June 15, the road was back open to traffic, although Drive B.C. was recommending that vehicles heading up the road should expect that, with construction in both directions, there will be delays.

Columbia Valley residents are strongly urged to sign up for the RDEK’s regional evacuation notification system (ENS), which allows participants to learn of evacuation alerts and orders within minutes. Registration details and information are available at www.rdek.bc.ca.