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Emergency operations in place after Cooke Creek bursts banks

Debris from flooding flows down the Shuswap River in the Kingfisher/Trinity Valley area. - Michael Haak photo
Debris from flooding flows down the Shuswap River in the Kingfisher/Trinity Valley area.
— image credit: Michael Haak photo

UPDATE 3:44 P.M.

Emergency personnel are taking action after a debris build-up on Cooke Creek gave way in the Kingfisher area early Friday morning.

The Mabel Lake Road has been washed out and hydro and communications have been severed.

"Emergency operations and repairs are already underway," said Rick Fairbairn, Regional District of North Okanagan chairperson.

"Staff is proceeding to the Kingfisher community to establish communication links and co-ordinate emergency social services."

It is expected that the Mabel Lake water utility will have sufficient capacity for the weekend.

"Residents are being encouraged to conserve water and in particular, reduce water and sewer usage as much as possible," said Fairbairn.

For updates, go to www.northokanaganem.ca.

UPDATE 10:15 A.M.

Officials are concerned that flooding from Cooke Creek could cause problems downstream on the Shuswap River.

"There is a very large debris flow coming down," said Pete Wise, with Vernon Search and Rescue.

Officials are currently at the bridge at Trinity Valley Road.

"We're monitoring the flow and making sure it doesn't pile up, create a dam and impact the bridge."

Farmer Michael Haak became aware of the situation just after 7 a.m. Friday.

"I looked out at the river and it was completely full of logs. I could have walked across it," said Haak.

Down river, the City of Enderby is concerned about water intakes if the debris reaches the community.

"We're monitoring to ensure there is no damage to critical infrastructure," said Tate Bengston, chief administrative officer.

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There's been significant flooding in the Kingfisher area.

Cooke Creek has burst its banks near the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre, which is 25 kilometres east of Enderby on Mabel Lake Road.

"It took out four hydro poles and there's lots of stuff coming down," said Jackie Pearase, the electoral area director who also lives in the immediate neighbourhood.

Pearase says a home was in the path of the debris but it appears the occupants are uninjured.

"It's pretty major," she said of the flooding.

Mabel Lake Road in the area is closed to traffic.

"There's lots of resources out there,"said Sgt. Neil Hogg, with the Enderby RCMP.

Among those on site are Vernon Search and Rescue, B.C. Hydro and the B.C. Ambulance Service. Enderby RCMP are on the west side of the flood area while Lumby RCMP have accessed the east side via Trinity Valley Road.

"There's a helicopter our there and they're doing an assessment of the area to see what can be done," said Hogg, adding that there are no reports of anyone being injured or trapped.

North Okanagan Emergency Management has mobilized its efforts.

"We are aware of an issue and emergency social services is on stand-by if residents need assistance," said Helen Sinclair, deputy emergency management co-ordinator.

"The emergency operations centre is up and running."

 

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