Since July 2023, the south Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake areas have been, and continue to be, affected by widespread destruction from the Bush Creek East wildfire. The wildfire burned mountainous slopes draining into Adams Lake, Shuswap Lake and Little Shuswap Lake, creating the potential for increased geohazard risks on alluvial fans, steep creeks and rock slopes.
On September 14, 2023, the Board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) unanimously agreed to place a temporary building moratorium on the fire-impacted areas of the Shuswap until the results of an overview geotechnical assessment was complete.
As a result, BGC Engineering Inc. was retained by the CSRD to better understand the risks posed by wildfire-related geohazards to residents in the area or those seeking to rebuild.
An initial report has been completed and is now available for public review in the Reports section of the CSRD website. Accordingly, the CSRD is now removing the temporary building moratorium effective immediately. This means fire-impacted residents may now take the next steps toward rebuilding.
The overview geohazard assessment described in the BGC Engineering report is intended to provide preliminary support for land-use and permit decision-making during the fire-recovery process. The report indicates there are some new hazards for landowners and the CSRD to be aware of in these fire-impacted areas. These risk factors may affect the building permit process, including the possible requirement for additional property-specific geotechnical assessments.
If landowners want to build any structures on their property, they are strongly advised to contact CSRD building staff early in their planning process.
“Our hearts are with those that have lost so much, and we thank all these affected residents for their patience. We are very pleased that this geohazard report can be used by the residents to help make safe and informed decisions during the rebuilding process,” says Marty Herbert, Manager of Building and Bylaw Services.
The BGC Engineering report primarily focused on risk to private property parcels within the CSRD boundaries. Infrastructure and buildings outside of the CSRD, including those belonging to Skwlāx te Secwepemcúl̓ecw and Adams Lake Indian Band, provincial parks, or the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, or other assets that were non-structural or of cultural value were not specifically assessed.
The Provincial Ministry of Forests is also continuing to conduct a geotechnical assessment of the entire area affected by the Bush Creek East Wildfire. Any additional information provided by the Province would also be incorporated into the CSRD’s development decision-making process.
For more information on the next rebuilding steps for a particular property, please contact the building department by email at [email protected]. Questions about land-use planning in the CSRD can be directed to [email protected].
View printable copy (PDF)