Okanagan washouts could have connection to wildfires

The ministry said wildfires have impacted the severity of some landslides and washouts

It’s possible with the recent erosion events in the Okanagan, that there is a connection to wildfire as steep slopes that are no longer protected by organic matter and short vegetation are more likely to slide, said a UBC Okanagan professor.

After wildfire ravages an area, steep slopes left unprotected by vegetation have the potential to move, said David Scott, earth and environmental sciences professor at UBCO.

READ MORE: Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

In recent years, the severity of summer wildfires has impacted the regularity of some landslides and washouts, according to the Ministry of Transportation.

The most recent slide along Highway 33 was caused by a number of factors, including rapid freezing and thawing conditions as well as melting snow and rain, according to the Ministry of Transportation in a statement.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfire season now second worst in province’s history

The ministry is also working with Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource and Rural Development to understand the impact of wildfires and monitor those areas affected to see if there’s a change in the water runoff.

Another large rock slide, which crews are currently working on north of Summerland, was caused by rapid freezing and thawing conditions.

READ MORE: Alternate route highlighted as Highway 97 closure continues

“These conditions are a common occurrence across much of the province in late winter or early spring, especially in the southern Interior,” the ministry’s statement said.

Wildfires that reduce vegetation cover can result in deeper snowpacks that melt faster than normal, according to Scott’s published article, Wildfires and Watershed Effects in the Southern B.C. Interior.

READ MORE: Trails closed in Kelowna regional park due to landslide

READ MORE: Kelowna subdivision slope erosion fuels landslide fears

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Lift for Wills’ community fundraiser to support Penticton boy fighting cancer

This Sunday, stop by World Gym Penticton for by-donation drop-in classes, a silent auction, more.

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

ALERT and Penticton pilot team up to talk about Australian wildfires

Mike Bridson has been fighting the fires in Australia, and returns to help more later this month

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

‘It’s still early’: Flu rates down so far this year at Interior Health

At Kelowna General Hosptial, there have been about 50 confirmed cases

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read