Big Wave Damages B.C. Campgrounds
A rock slide following a heavy rain on Dec. 3 created a tsunami-like wave that buried a campground and damaged two others on the shores of Chehalis Lake in British Columbia.
The incident likely occurred during the rain storm when part of a nearby mountain slid into the western end of the lake, according to the Vancouver Sun. The three unnamed campgrounds are located about 60 miles east of Vancouver.
No one is believed to have been injured in the slide, said B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner, who surveyed the damage on Friday (Dec. 7).
The water appeared to have rocked back and forth on either side of the lake, pulling trees and brush into the lake, he said.
“A big chunk of a side of a mountain let go,” Penner said, describing the devastation he witnessed. “The wall of water that was pushed up out of the lake was at least 30 to 40 feet high as it came ashore at the west end of the lake.”
He said many large trees, including Douglas firs and cedars, have been ripped out by the water.
“The water color has certainly been affected and a tremendous amount of wood debris has collected at the east end of the lake,” Penner said, adding that the extent of the damage is being evaluated by ministry staff.
Chief Willie Charlie of the Chehalis First Nations band also toured the damage by helicopter. He said he was impressed by the magnitude of the damage he witnessed along the lake, where the water appeared to have swept back and forth.
Charlie said that in addition to being concerned about local fish habitat, he is worried for the safety of members of his community – a 650-member reserve – next to Chehalis Lake.
“If (the debris) all decided to come down the Chehalis River at once, it could cause a damaging effect on the community,” Charlie said. Since flooding has been a longtime concern, he said, the band completed a $3 million dike this year to protect itself.