Good samaritan Mike Mattes was filling sandbags at the Penticton Fire Rescue Number 2 Hall Thursday afternoon under threatening skies. Mark Brett/Western News

Evacuation alert for some residents south of Oliver

An evacuation alert was issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

An evacuation alert was issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen for properties along Testalinden Creek, south of Oliver.

The creek runs through Testalinden canyon where slopes may be weakened due to the 2010 large debris flow that was caused by the failure of an upland earthen dam.

Related: Owner of breached Testalinden Dam denied responsibility

The RDOS said they have worked for the past few days improving Testalinden Creek below Highway 97, including armouring of the creek and removing debris. Slope uncertainty, the RDOS said, combined with the large volumes of water running through the creek now, has led to the evacuation alert of the following addresses:

Testalinden Place: 511, 545, 555, 579, 583, 589, 598 and 599

Golden Mile Drive: 4472 and 4444

Highway 97: 4535, 4523, 4522 and 4508

Road 15: 308

“So this is an evacuation alert, not an order,” said Dale Kronebusch, RDOS emergency services supervisor. “So they can stay in place but be ready to go in a moments notice. This gives them the opportunity to get valuables together, get the essentials and have their pets on a short leash.”

Kronebusch said residents that are on the alert are being notified by RCMP and emergency responders. He added should it become an evacuation order the emergency responders will go through those areas and give them further information on where they can muster.

The RDOS said a slope failure could result in temporary damming of the creek and further debris flows. Residents are advised to stay well away from all creeks and rivers as water flows can change quickly and banks become increasingly undermined and unstable.

Any increase in debris flow or significant change of water flowing down the creek is to be reported to the RDOS emergency operations centre by calling 250-492-0237 or toll-free 1-877-610-3737.