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Wildfire that triggered rockslide near Hope 'being held'

Drivers should check DriveBC for road conditions.
Flood Falls Wildfire on Sept 10 2022 looking south along Highway 1.

A wildfire burning southwest of Hope is "being held" as of Friday, but crews are continuing to keep a close eye on the hillside over fears parts of it could collapse. 

On Sept. 11, the eastbound lanes of Highway 1 were closed through the area of Hope due to a rockfall caused by the out-of-control wildfire.  

"The fire had caused some slope instability, resulting in a minor rockfall on the eastbound lane of the highway," the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told Glacier Media.

In an email to the District of Hope and Fraser Valley Regional District, Glacier Media asked what protocols were being put in place should more rock fall on the highway. 

John Fortoloczky, Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Hope, says the regional district will work with all its partners in addressing the situation. 

"In regards to rockfall," said Fortoloczky. "We are coordinating with the BC Wildfire Service and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure in assessing the risks.”

"Debris and rockfall are current risks and that is why [the Trans Canada Highway] has the southernmost eastbound lane closed to traffic.”

All of the evacuations and alerts for the Flood Falls Trail wildfire have been downgraded and fire had burned 545 hectares the last time it was measured. 

Once classified as "held," a wildfire is not likely to spread and crews may finish establishing control lines, manage the availability of fuels in the area, and extinguish the fire.

In 2021, an atmospheric river dumped large volumes of water in the region surrounding Hope, triggering flooding and landslides, and destroying homes and parts of the highway. 

Fortoloczky said if the risk to landslides changes, road restrictions will be adjusted.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said highway maintenance contractors are required to monitor the conditions of B.C. highways and respond to conditions that are unsafe or have the potential to become unsafe. 

Patrols are carried out daily on numbered highways within the Fraser Valley and Hope area. 

"The frequency is increased during periods of heavy rainfall, high water flow or rapid snow melt,” the ministry spokesperson said in an email. 

Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says there has only been minimal rain in the area of Hope. 

“For Hope, they've only recorded point two millimetres of rain over the past couple of days. Some stations have seen a little bit more,” she said. 

Rain is expected by tomorrow for the area, followed by mainly cloudy conditions and then a return to sunshine. 

Travellers travelling along Highway 1 near Hope are reminded to check DriveBC for the latest conditions.