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Posted: June 1, 2020

Washout closes Bull River Road

The Rocky Mountain District of the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure this morning (June 1) reports that the Bull River Road is closed near Wardner-Fort Steele Road due to flooding and a washout. Wild Horse River Road is also experiencing flooding and washouts.

The ministry reports that Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is joining it in response to repair the road.

An estimated time of opening is not yet known.

Social media reports note several people are trapped on the other side of some of the washouts.

British Columbia’s River Forecast Centre reports the Bull River peaked yesterday is now receding, while the Kootenay River at Fort Steele is flowing at 1,280 m3/s (five-year to 10-year flow) and rising. Forecasts are indicating the potential to reach up to 1400-1800 m3/s today.

A flood watch also continues around the Moyie River and surrounding tributaries.

“The weekend experienced severe thundershowers and rain across the region. Rainfall amounts in the 10-50mm range have been observed since Saturday. River levels have been rising rapidly in response to this rainfall. River levels in the two-year to 20-year flow range are being observed throughout the region,” the ministry reported.

The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period.

The River Forecast Centre continues to monitor the situation and provides updates as conditions warrant.

Updates will be forthcoming.

Lead, above and below images: People attempt to leave the Wild Horse River area. The weekend heat wave, combined with a higher than average snowpack including severe thunderstorms May 30/31, were the perfect recipe for flash flooding across much of the region. The flooding prompted the Regional District of East Kootenay to issue evacuation alerts and orders for a number of areas. People are stranded with camp trailers and personal property stuck with no way out due to a number of roads being washed out. A specific area of concern is the Wild Horse River near Fort Steele that has caused road access on both sides to be completely cut off. In addition the Bull River FSR has sustained major damage cutting off access from the Fort Steele-Wardner side. People camping near Fort Steele were scrambling to move property and personal items away from the flooding. Thankfully friends and family were able to help some of those stranded get out. Others left behind campers and vehicles that were completely engulfed by the water. Even a hefty beaver was found making a run for it! Photos by Chad St. Pierre Photography

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