Evacuation ordered for all of Old Fort

The Peace River Regional District has ordered a full evacuation of Old Fort due to the ongoing landslide.

The order was issued Sunday afternoon, a week after the slide began Sept. 30, due to immediate life safety, and the RCMP is expediting the evacuation, according to the regional district.

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"After the evacuation all services to the area will stopped," the order reads.

"Those who choose to stay will do so at their own risk and will be required to be 100% self-sufficient. All access routes will be manned and once someone comes out they will not be allowed back in."

Boats will be taxiing residents out to a dock at the Site C dam construction site and then bused to a reception centre at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. Emergency support services is being provided for residents that evacuate.

Still, the evacuation order has caused anxiety and concern for some residents who say they don't know exactly why they're being told to leave.

Power was cut to the neighbourhood Saturday night and the regional district ordered BC Hydro crews out of the area due to safety reasons. Generators and fuel supplies were being shipped in Sunday morning prior to the evacuation order.

"You'd think they'd tell us something," one resident, who was rushing home from work, told the Alaska Highway News.

"They won't tell us anything. We're all supposed to just walk away from our houses?"

The resident said they would not be leaving their house as they had no children, and raised concerns about security and safety of the neighbourhood from looters.

In a video posted to the regional district website, information officer Kristen Danczak says a review by the district's engineering geologist suggests the continued movement of the main and reactivated slides above the community pose a significant risk to public safety.

"Information collected during the helicopter survey of the area and ground truthing showed evidence of stress cracks and other signs of instability throughout the area," Danczak said.

Access for utility crews remains crews closed and unsafe for workers, she said.

"Limitations for visibility and LIDAR survey to monitor changes in the movement of the slide have been reduced with the current snowfall conditions," Danczak said.

"Visual and recorded observations of the movement to date indicate the movement is significant and unpredictable."

The slide was last reported to be at five million cubic metres and had reactivated an older slide in the area last week. It's unclear just how much the landslide has grown in scope.

Officials with the ministry of transportation and infrastructure, which have been providing updates, were not immediately available for comment.

A community meeting was held in Old Fort on Saturday.

Another meeting will be held in Fort St. John Monday, where an official from Emergency Management BC is expected to be present.

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