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PRRD imploring Old Fort residents to heed evacuation order to avoid possible repeat of Oso mudslide

A view from a Washington Army National Guard helicopter showing the aftermath of the 2014 mudslide near Oso, Washington. Wikipedia photo

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District is warning residents of the B.C. Peace Region to adhere to the evacuation orders that are in effect for the area surrounding the Old Fort subdivision and is warning anyone about the potentially deadly consequences of ignoring that order.

In a post on Facebook this afternoon the PRRD began by calling out the Peace Country River Rats, a local group of jetboat enthusiasts, alleging that the group is offering to help evacuees from Old Fort with gathering pets and other belongings.

https://twitter.com/fortstjohnrcmp/status/1049812550777532416?s=21

The Regional District stated on Facebook that the Emergency Operations Centre at the PRRD main officer Dawson Creek does have a plan to assist evacuees with gathering their belongings and vehicles once it is safe to do so.

“At this time, it is not safe for ANYONE to enter the evacuation order area – from land or by water. Volunteers MUST NOT enter this area and MUST not transport anyone to the EVACUATION ORDER area,” reads the statement. “We implore the Peace Country River Rats to not ignore the evacuation order and take people from an area of safety to an area of risk. Our priority is the safety of the responders and the public. Although important to individuals, everything in our homes can be replaced, but lives cannot.”

The PRRD said that it doesn’t want to see a repeat of March 2014’s mudslide near Oso, Washington, which occurred roughly 80 kilometres northeast of Seattle.

After a period of heavy rains lasting over a month, a hillside above the Stillaguamish River in Snohomish County suddenly let go on March 22nd, covering roughly one square kilometre of the river valley floor and destroying 49 houses.

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43 people died in the mudslide, which is suspected to have been caused by soil saturation due to heavy rains.

The cause of last Sunday’s landslide has not been determined.