We have had our fair share of emergency events over the years...here are a few examples:
In 2004, a fire that started just to the north of Argenta from a lightening strike, hit a bit too close to home. Following this event, a group of local residents met and formed with the intention of developing preparedness plans and obtaining some equipment so if needed, they would be ready to contain wildfires in or near the community if for some reason no other help was available . Now there is equipment, a fireshed, a hose drying pole, and and trained members of the community who are ready to respond if needed. Argenta also continues to have an emergency preparedness committee, have developed an evacuation plan, and have other resources and support people trained to help.
Volunteer groups in Area D who have made preparations for emergencies or fires, include the Lardeau Fire Prevention Association, the Lardeau Valley Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Schroeder Creek Home Owners Association, Johnsons Landing Community Association, the Argenta Emergency Preparedness Committee, along with other dedicated local residents who respond when help is needed . The same is true across Area D and Kaslo - when help is needed, neighbours help neighbours, along with trained emergency responders.
In the summer of 2007, during a very hot and dry spell, the Hamill Creek fire exploded after an earlier lightening strike, just to the north of Argenta at the north end of Kootenay Lake. It burned for a number of weeks and affected over 1500 hectares of forest; an evacuation alert was issued but ultimately no one had to leave the area. Responders came from across the province, including the Martin Mars water bomber.
In June of 2012 after excessive amounts of rain in the area, a debris flow occurred on Kemp Creek (above Kaslo) burst, creating a number of issues downstream and in the Village
On July 12, 2012, after a heavy snowpack the previous winter and a record setting rainfall in June, a landslide of over 300,000 cubic meters slid down the mountain and went through the community of Johnsons Landing, dividing it into north and south; taking 4 lives and destroying homes and properties. This event was an example in many ways of how small, rural communities can come together in times of disaster to help each other. Many emergency services agencies responded to the event locally, regionally, and provincially, and everyone in the area who could do something to help, did so. The recovery from this event is ongoing and many things have been learned from both the response and the recovery; locally and provincially.
In the middle of June 2013, there were flooding events all across the Regional District. In the north Kootenay Lake area, portions of the Hamill Creek bridge (just down the creek from where the 2007 fire began, see above) washed away, along with a home and property to the south of the bridge. Access was cut off to a number of people on the north side of the bridge for about a week. In the same weather event, Schroeder Creek, just north of Kaslo, also had flooding after the creek burst its banks, and washed out the road causing access issues and other damage in the community.
Ploughing the snow off of Highway 31 at the Lardeau Bluffs. Avalanche mitigation work undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure each winter in our area usually includes the north Kootenay Lake area where there can be road closures and power outages due to avalanches off the bluffs.. There is an "avalanche cam" aimed at the Lardeau Bluffs on Highway 31 for the technicians to efficiently utilize and monitor the level of hazard that winter weather conditions create,
2014... the winter of 2013 - 2014 had a number of avalanches at the Lardeau Bluffs on Highway 31, which closed the road several times. The spring has been quiet. The weather in June is traditionally the time which will indicate whether we have a dry summer (and possibly a number of wildfires) or if it will be wet and the firefighting season will be quieter and shorter. Flooding is also a concern in late spring, but so far 2014 has not seen extraordinary amounts of water coming from rainfall or spring melt.
A tree falling on the power lines directly across the highway from the Schroeder Creek community was the cause of a wildfire in June. This picture shows an AT802 Amphibious Air Tractor at work, water bombing the fire. The Wildfire Managment Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, introduced these to the area this year, as they are highly effective in working on fires.