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Hot weather a worry for disaster response teams

North Okanagan emergency management coordinator Helen Sinclair urges residents to prepare for flooding so they can enjoy water, not fear it.
May 06, 2013 - 5:00 PM

It's hard to think about preparing your backyard for natural disasters when the weather is as hot and sunny as it is in the Okanagan right now.

While there's no disaster immediately in sight, emergency response crews are encouraging residents to prepare for floods and fires.

The Okanagan's recent hot flash means a fair amount of snowpack is melting and rushing down waterways. According to the area's deputy emergency management coordinator, there's no cause for concern just yet.

"We've had no problems, no rise in the water level to speak of," Helen Sinclair says. "But the potential does exist, especially if we get some rain."

That's why she's encouraging residents, as she does every year, to prepare in advance for possible disasters.

Those living near creeks, streams and low lying areas are particularly susceptible to flooding, and Sinclair suggests residents acquaint themselves with the nearest sand and sandbag stations.

Additionally, she urges property owners to take care of trees that may fall over in a flood and block culverts or roadways.

If the tree looks like it might impact a roadway, residents are asked to call the Ministry of Transportation to have them remove the tree.

If it appears the tree might fall on the owner's property, Sinclair says residents must obtain a license to cut down the tree from the Ministry of Forests.

While water woes are the primary concern at this time of the year, fire season is just around the corner.

"On the heels of flood season is fire season," Sinclair says. "This could be a very bad year with fuel build-up and hot weather."

So while you're out doing yard work in the sunny days to come, keep flooding and fires in mind.

"Disaster preparedness truly starts in the home," Sinclair says.

Residents can call the Ministry of Transportation at (604)660-9770 and the Ministry of Forests at 1-800-663-3456.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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