May 7, 2018 4:45 pm
Updated: May 11, 2018 3:04 pm

Nazko business hard hit by B.C. wildfires dealt second blow as flood risk continues

B.C.'s higher-than-average snow pack continues to melt, causing rivers to rise and more communities to be put on flood alert. Geoff Hastings wraps up the day's events.

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UPDATE: The evacuation order for the Nazko region has been lifted. The Cariboo Regional District gave area residents the all clear on Friday, May 11, 2018. 

B.C.’s Nazko Valley has been dealt one blow after another from Mother Nature. Area business owners say they’ve already been burned once and don’t want to be burned again.

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The region, west of Quesnel, one of the hardest hit during B.C.’s record-breaking wildfire season in 2017, is among the most impacted and at-risk due to flooding that’s threatening several B.C. communities.

The owners of Fishpot Lake Resort in Nazko were forced to cancel all winter and summer bookings in 2017 when the Plateau wildfire destroyed the forest surrounding the campground and fishing resort.

Running bucket after bucket of water, day after day, from the nearby lake onto approaching flames, they managed to save their property from being destroyed but couldn’t prevent all damage.

READ MORE: In Nazko, B.C., a wildfire has lifted, leaving broken dreams in its wake

Just as they gained traction on the clean-up and repairs from that devastating wildfire season, Vicky and Marc Roy have once again been forced to cancel bookings due to the ongoing flood threat plaguing the Nazko area.

“Due to the flooding and RCMP road block by the Nazko bridge, I have had to cancel bookings to the resort and at this point in time I am unsure for how long,” Fishpot Lake resort co-owner Vicky Roy told Global News.

Crews with road maintenance contractor Emcon Services working to repair the Nazko Bridge on May 1, 2018.

Courtesy: Marc & Vicky Roy

“We have started the huge task of cleaning up, we have taken down our playground, fallen many burnt, tipping or dead trees… but we have a great many more to go.”

There is a flood warning in effect for the Nazko River but residents previously evacuated have been allowed back home.

On Tuesday, an evacuation order for 120 properties on West Road River and the Nazko River was downgraded to an evacuation alert. The Nazko First Nation will announce separately when its evacuation order has been lifted.

As for the Roys, they weren’t evacuated but say they’re packed up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“Luckily for us the resort is up high and we are dry for the time being, unlike our poor Nazko Valley down below,” Roy said.

Sandbags are prepared for residents trying to protect their properties in the Nazko area; photo taken on April 30th.

Courtesy: Cariboo Regional District

The B.C. River Forecast Centre indicates the water will likely rise again in the area and residents are being advised to prepare for potential flooding, leaving the Roy family feeling uncertain about the future of their home and livelihood.

“We are doing well but are unsure of what will befall us as the main bridge to Nazko is slowly pulling away from the bank due to the force of the Nazko River,” Roy said.

“This bridge is the main way in and out of Nazko and with all of the flooding in the middle, residents will be trapped inside if this were to break away.”

Crews with road maintenance contractor Emcon Services working to repair the Nazko Bridge on May 1, 2018.

Courtesy: Marc & Vicky Roy

Roy said the bridge is open to single-lane alternating traffic for now and hopes crews will be able to save it from a complete collapse.

“We had so much snow this winter in February and with the forest being so burnt due to the Plateau fire, a lot of this water is flowing directly into the lakes and streams and rivers, helping to cause so much flooding,” Roy said.

“One day things will be alright again. We are just taking things one day at a time.”

The Roys said they’ll have to completely reconstruct their recently washed out driveway – another unexpected cost as they continue to try to protect themselves from yet another threat from Mother Nature.

“We are going to have to re-do the driveway properly with culverts,” Roy said.

“I’m hoping we don’t have to cancel all our May long weekend bookings but it’s something we may have to consider which really sucks… that’s our bread and butter.”

The CRD said area residents, home owners, small business owners, farmers, charities and local government organizations who couldn’t get insurance to cover disaster-related losses are eligible for assistance and can apply online.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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