The risk of a landslide over the next two years because of wildfires in the Sicamous area is all but guaranteed.
Studies by the geotechnical engineering firm BGC Engineering and presented to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District concluded the chance of a landslide taking place in the area sometime over the next two years is close to 100 per cent.
As such, there is a significant risk to both life and property, the CSRD warns.
In light of the prediction, an early warning system for landslides is in the works for the Wiseman Creek area of the District of Sicamous.
The CSRD has secured provincial funding for the system, which will alert residents to potential threats from post-wildfire landslides.
BGC found damage caused to the landscape from last summer’s Two Mile Road wildfire has made slopes above Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park unstable and at risk of a debris flood and possibly a debris flow.
While both types of landslides can cause damage, a debris flow is more serious because it contains more soil and debris, which can travel farther and faster, and with more impact to whatever is in its path.
It is recommended the early warning system be put in place before spring melt and rainfall increase the danger.
The system is designed to use weather forecasting data to determine whether an evacuation alert or order would be issued.
“The warning system needs to be based on forecast weather data because, once rain has begun to fall, it is already too late to notify residents of the risk and have them safely evacuate,” the CSRD said in a press release.
The cost of the early warning system is estimated at $30,000.
With funding secured, work on the system has begun. It will be operational by the end of April.