The Chilliwack-Vedder River was running high at one point last week from so much heavy rain, blown out like chocolate milk.
That’s when the decision was made to evacuate three people from a homeless camp on a gravel bar in the Chilliwack River, due to mounting concerns about high water.
There were anywhere from six to a dozen tents and structures set up on the gravel bar in question, not far from Teskey Rock.
Chilliwack SAR members were called to assist RCMP with the evacuation late afternoon Thursday after a bridge-type structure to the homeless tent camp was washed down the river in the fast-moving current, according to reports.
The original call came in to RCMP last week from a CO with the BC Conservation Service, citing concerns about the homeless campers’ safety safety due to rising water levels, said Cpl. Mike Rail of UFVRD.
The channel between them and safety was getting wider and deeper.
Three people and a dog were eventually shuttled across the river channel with their belongings. All were offered transport to a shelter but all three declined, Rail said.
It was a precautionary move, said Doug Fraser, search manager for Chilliwack SAR about the evacuation.
No one was in immediate danger, but they decided to err on the side of caution.
The team has been involved in numerous evacuations from gravel bars in the Fraser River before, and some were more urgent, given the risks, than this one on the Chilliwack-Vedder.
In this case they used a raft, and were able to walk the people across, in knee-deep water.
“But when the river is running like it was, there is always potential for it to rise rapidly if the channel is diverted and a log jam blocks the main flow,” he said.