A helicopter buckets wildfires as smoke rises from the mountains surrounding Zeballos in an Aug. 17, 2018 file photo.

Evacuation order lifted for most of Zeballos, but five homes still affected

Engineering firm says ‘there is no absolute safety’ for residents of hazard zones following wildfires

Zeballos, the small coastal village besieged by flames during last year’s wildfires, has lifted an evacuation order for 20 properties threatened by falling debris.

But seven lots are still affected by the evacuation order, which has been in place for eight months.

A map of the evacuation area shows the properties huddled against the eastern boundary of the village, which is hemmed by steep cliffs.

Five families live on those properties, according to village staff.

The changes came into effect on Thursday, following the publication of a new geohazard report in April.

The new report, produced by the consulting firm BGC Engineering, says its previous assessment was overly conservative.

Published in October, that report said wildfires led to a roughly tenfold increase in debris flow and rock fall probability.

Two consultants from the engineering firm hiked the burned slopes and creeks in March for their follow-up research, crisscrossing the mountains above the village.

Results of the study show a lower risk level, but “there is no absolute safety for residents in the designated risk zone,” according to the report.

READ MORE: Risk of falling debris in Zeballos increased ‘tenfold’ following wildfires – geohazard report

READ MORE: Zeballos evacuation order expanded due to danger of falling debris and slides

READ MORE: Campbell River and remote communities plan for wildfires amid mounting anxiety

It notes that “residents in the hazard zones are able to reduce their risk by avoiding using their property during inclement weather should they choose to return” following the lifting of the evacuation order.

The report also details a number of technical options for reducing the risk posed by falling debris.

Those include barriers, deflection berms, constructed channels and debris basins.

The report also suggests the village consider subdivisions away from hazardous areas for people wishing to relocate, “given the long-term projected worsening geohazards and associated risks faced by Zeballos from rising sea levels, predicted higher flood levels and intensification of extreme storms.”

Zeballos issued the evacuation order last August due the risk of trees, rocks and other debris falling from the scorched mountainsides.

The village expanded the order in early September to include 27 properties, including 13 residential homes and a hotel. The other properties were vacant lots, except for two with temporary structures like RVs.

The risk of falling debris also led to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to close North Maquinna Avenue, one of two links to the only road into Zeballos.

The transportation ministry reopened North Maquinna Avenue on April 25.

Zeballos has a population of 107 people, according to 2016 census figures.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A map issued by the Village of Zeballos shows properties still under an evacuation order as of May 2 highlighted in yellow.

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: watchdog

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Devil’s Bath is the largest cenote in Canada

“This trail is rough and should be executed with caution”

OPINION: MP Rachel Blaney takes aim at coastal fisheries restrictions

“We all share in the responsibility of taking care of our salmon habitats and populations”

Northern Vancouver Island regional science fair winners – 2019

Daniel Kornylo won one of the 12 provincial science fair awards.

North Island Eagles select head coaches for upcoming season

“We appreciate the commitment each of you make to the club and to your teams”

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

LETTER: The constant growth of the Harvest thrift store and food bank

“we now serve the complete Northern end of Vancouver Island – everyone North of Woss!”

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read