Evacuation order issued for Pemberton Valley as river levels rise

·2 min read
The Lillooet River, pictured, is rising rapidly due to high temperatures and the resulting snowmelt. (Submitted by the Nelson family - image credit)
The Lillooet River, pictured, is rising rapidly due to high temperatures and the resulting snowmelt. (Submitted by the Nelson family - image credit)

An evacuation order has been issued in the Pemberton Valley north of Vancouver as river levels continue to rise rapidly due to high temperatures and the resulting snowmelt.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District issued the evacuation order for a number of homes along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Clover Road, Pemberton Meadows Road and Ryan Creek Road on Saturday.

The evacuation order can be read here.

The regional district also asked people to avoid trails in the area due to flooding.

The Líl̓wat First Nation, located east of Pemberton, has also issued an evacuation order. In a release they said the Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police and other agencies will be expediting evacuation of these areas on behalf of the Líl̓wat Nation.

The order went into effect Saturday night at 9 p.m. and will be in place until July 2 at 10 p.m.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a flood watch for the Lillooet River and its tributaries, including Pemberton, Lillooet Lake and Harrison Lake. It says river levels are rising and areas near the river may also flood.

Temperatures for the area are forecast to rise up to 40 C in the coming days. The forecast centre expects the river to peak on July 1, and Harrison Lake to peak on July 1 or 2.

Submitted by the Nelson family
Submitted by the Nelson family

Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman told CBC Monday morning that water levels have increased over the weekend, particularly in Lillooet Lake which receives water from the regions' rivers and streams.

But, he said, there have been no major dyke breaches so far.

"The good news is everything has held its line quite nicely. Now, we go out and check the infrastructure and make our moves from there," said Richman.

He said there is a risk of a potential increase in levels overnight Monday, and officials are currently checking problem areas in preparation.

The community, he said, is prepared. "Everybody's on the ready and everybody's there to support each other."

Updates are available at pemberton.ca and on the Village's Facebook page.

The public is being advised to stay away from the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks over the next week.

Other areas of the province are under a high stream-flow advisory due to high temperatures and snowmelt.

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