Home damaged in rock slide that closed Highway 3 near Keremeos, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Rockslide triggers evacuation order and highway closure'
Rockslide triggers evacuation order and highway closure
A rockslide just west of Keremeos triggered a local state of emergency overnight and forced the closure of a portion of Highway 3. As Taya Fast reports – crews are unable to fully assess the rockslide due to poor weather and there is no timeline as to when the highway will reopen. – Nov 6, 2023

A Sunday night rock slide that closed a major highway in both directions outside Keremeos, B.C., has also caused damage to an area home.

The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District confirmed Monday that windows on one mobile home were damaged when rocks came tumbling down between Highway 3 and the Similkameen River within hours of the slide.

Officials said that nobody was injured and the damage was relatively contained. That said, there are concerns that more rocks may fall and an evacuation order that currently affects two homes, may be extended as the day goes on.

Jim Zaffino, RDOS  Emergency Operations Centre Director, said there are around two dozen homes affected in the area, and that translates to around 32 people in the area.  Those who have left are being directed to Princeton, where resources are set up.

Until they’ve done an assessment, the portion of Highway 3 affected will remain closed.

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“Right now we have a geotech that is evaluating the risk,” Zaffino said.

“And once a risk is evaluated, we will be looking at possibly opening the road or the Minister of Transportation will be looking at opening up the road.”

DriveBC, the province’s online traveller information system, is not estimating when the highway might reopen and is proposing a detour that involves a route through Merritt and West Kelowna, adding more than 300 kilometres to the journey.

The regional district has imposed a state of local emergency for the rural area roughly halfway between the village of Keremeos and the community of Hedley.

Click to play video: 'Another South Okanagan ER temporarily closes'
Another South Okanagan ER temporarily closes

Fortis BC, which provides electricity in the region, said earlier the “unstable ground conditions” caused a power outage affecting 114 customers.

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A resident of Keremeos posted this photo of a rockslide on Highway 3. Credit: Christopher Erb

-with files from CP

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