Keremeos, B.C., residents are still dealing with the aftermath of a rockslide that caused serious damage nearly two weeks ago. With the evacuation order now lifted in the area, residents are finally returning to their homes.
On Jan. 16th in Keremeos, rocks came crashing down onto Highway 3 and the Eagle RV park and campground.
“I was in complete panic, I was in panic,” said Eagle RV resident Kyle Heller.
Heller remembers the fear he felt as he quickly grabbed his dogs and what he could while staying out of the rockslide’s path. On Friday morning, he was finally allowed back home as the evacuation order was rescinded.
“Putting everything back in its place, making sense of everything. Keeping an eye on that mountainside, that one rock up there is coming down a little bit more. I don’t think it’s going to be much of a threat because it’s pretty flat,” Heller said.
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The Regional District of Okanagan-Simlikameen (RDOS) conducted an evaluation on the slope where the rockfall occurred before rescinding the order, giving residents all the facts before they choose to return to the area.
“You want people to have an educated, informed decision to make themselves right. At this moment in time, people need to have the information to make their own decisions,” said Tim Roberts, Regional Area District “G” director.
Based on a preliminary assessment, the RDOS says the probability of a rockfall reoccurring once again in the area is very high.
“There’s no way of really saying tomorrow or 100 years from now. But there’s a probability of them coming down because we have constant movements of rocks with the freezing and thawing in the area,” Roberts said.
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The RDOS says rockfalls like this are not out of the ordinary in the area, but they typically don’t involve rocks of this size.
“Rockfalls are kind of a common occurring thing in the mountains. There’s a constant flow of little rocks, sometimes bigger rocks. It’s something that happens every spring, we hear them. This one was right where people are living so far more dramatic,” said Roberts.
Eagle RV residents will spend the next few days picking up the pieces of the destruction left behind near their homes.
“Sad to see these units you know, we live in these, but you know you can be in a house and a rockslide could come down and do the same amount of damage,” said Heller.
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