Advertisement

Flood risk prompts warning of possible evacuation for some northern Alberta communities

Officials in Big Lakes County said the area was continuing to experience heavy spring runoff conditions on Thursday.
Officials in Big Lakes County said the area was continuing to experience heavy spring runoff conditions on Thursday. CREDIT: Facebook/Big Lakes County

The spring flooding situation in northern Alberta appeared to be intensifying on Thursday as officials in some communities warned residents about the possibility they may be forced to leave their homes.

Areas where residents are being asked to prepare for potential need for evacuation

At 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, Mackenzie County declared a state of local emergency due to the risk of flooding.

Officials said the “ice run is expected to reach Fort Vermilion within the next 24 hours.”

“The Peace River ice break-up may cause flooding in low-lying areas along the Peace River and residents of North Vermilion (Buttertown) and Fort Vermilion should prepare to evacuate on short notice,” officials in Mackenzie County said shortly after 3:30 p.m.

“This advisory is to allow you time to prepare for potential evacuation. You are not required to evacuate at this time.”

Story continues below advertisement

Anyone in that county who voluntarily evacuates is asked to register with local officials by calling 780-927-3718.

As of Thursday night, the county was looking for volunteers to help with manning barricades for the Peace River “ice jam event.”

For more information, click here.

In Big Lakes County, officials said ice buildup in the West Prairie River and East Prairie River has the potential to cause flooding in low-lying areas and could “affect properties in the immediate area.”

Residents in the following areas were asked to prepare to evacuate on short notice:

  • north of the High Prairie and west of the West Prairie River along Township Road 753, Township Road 753A, Range Road 170A, Range Road 171A
  • north of the High Prairie and east of the West Prairie River and west of Highway 749 along Township Road 750, Township Road 752, Range Road 171
  • along the East Prairie River on Township Road 740 to Township Road 745, Range Road 161, Range Road 162

Officials there said while people should be prepared to leave their homes, they wanted to be clear that no evacuation order is in place currently.

Anyone in that area who voluntarily evacuates is asked to register by calling 780-523-0108.

Story continues below advertisement

For more information, click here.

READ MORE: Overland flooding prompts several road closures in Big Lakes County

Officials said in the event evacuation becomes necessary, people affected should gather important documents like identification and insurance, any food and water they may need, medication, blankets, sleeping bags, personal items and supplies for family and pets.

In the event evacuation is necessary, people are asked to remember to continue adhering orders and recommendations from Alberta Health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials in Big Lakes County said the area was continuing to experience heavy spring runoff conditions on Thursday.
Officials in Big Lakes County said the area was continuing to experience heavy spring runoff conditions on Thursday. CREDIT: Facebook/Big Lakes County

Other areas dealing with flooding

The Alberta Emergency Mangement Agency said Thursday that “the Bear Creek Reservoir is discharging water at its maximum capacity and the City of Grande Prairie continues to monitor this situation.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Water levels in the Bear Creek Reservoir in the city of Grande Prairie continue to rise and this water is rapidly flowing into Bear Creek creating flooding and dangerous conditions,” the agency said.

“Due to this flooding, and the danger in this area, the Muskoseepi Park and Trail System in the city are closed to the public.”

For more information, click here.

READ MORE: Canada’s flood costs may triple by 2030 if protections aren’t improved: report

The Central Peace Regional Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that Birch Hills County is seeing overland flooding in a number of areas.

“Many roads have been impacted by large amounts of water resulting in road closures and hazardous driving conditions,” the agency said. “Listen for further updates and follow the instructions that apply to your area.

“Do not move barricades or drive around them as many roads are washed out.”

For more information, click here.

In the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136, officials said overland floodwaters had receded Thursday morning.

However, officials there noted that flooding has resulted in some roads and culverts becoming compromised and unstable.

Story continues below advertisement

“Do not attempt to drive through water on roadways that are flooded as there are hidden dangers,” officials said. “Do not move barricades or drive around them as road undermining may not be visible.

“If you encounter roads that are undermined and not barricaded, call 780-835-4903.”

For more information, click here.

READ MORE: COVID-19 case confirmed on Alberta First Nation coping with flooding

Watch below: Some Global News videos about flooding and flood preparedness in Western Canada in the spring of 2020.