State of Local Emergency lifted in Fairmont
Effective 4 p.m. today (July 3), the State of Local Emergency in Fairmont Hot Springs has been lifted.
“We have restored sufficient capacity within the Cold Spring Creek and Fairmont Creek debris trap systems that the State of Local Emergency is no longer required,” said Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Information Officer Loree Duczek.
For the past week, the work has focused primarily on the three uppermost debris traps on Fairmont Creek, with two of the three now back to 100% available capacity and the third scheduled to be at 100% capacity by end of day today.
“There will be additional minor clean up and work required next week; however, there will be no active hauling or excavation this weekend,” added Duczek. “Additional debris removal and repair work will continue on both creeks throughout the summer.”
The State of Local Emergency was declared on May 31 when debris flows occurred on both creeks following a heavy rain event. The mitigation measures implemented after the last major event proved to be effective. Although a massive clean-up operation was required, no lives were lost and no one was permanently displaced.
“This is another significant day in Fairmont. I would like to thank the staff, contractors, emergency program personnel, and Resort for their incredible work over the past 4 and a half weeks to restore capacity within the debris flow mitigation systems,” said Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “A sincere thank you goes out to the community of Fairmont. From dealing with the direct effects of the debris flow, to the ongoing impacts within the community during the clean-up process, all while we are in the midst of a pandemic, this has not been an easy time and we are grateful for your ongoing cooperation, patience and understanding.”
Following debris flow events in 2012 and 2013, it was determined that an unlimited amount of debris is located within the Fairmont Creek watershed and, particularly with the effects of climate change, it will be subject to debris flow events. The Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation System was completed in 2018. While it is designed to contain as much debris as possible, it does not completely eliminate the risk of large scale debris events.
Due to climate change, we can expect more frequent and severe weather events. This year, the RDEK is completing an updated hazard-risk analysis and will begin work on engineering and design of an additional debris flow mitigation system for Cold Spring Creek.
Lead image: Recently scoured Fairmont Creek. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo