Mudslides and washouts closed every highway in Kananaskis Country and left campers and Kananaskis Village residents stranded on Tuesday (June 20), as the torrential rainfall took out bridges and flooded huge sections of roadway.
“Basically, everything in Kananaskis is closed,” said district conservation officer Glenn Naylor. Officials are currently unaware how many people are stuck in Kananaskis. Everyone in the front country is accounted for, however Naylor said there is no way of knowing how many people are in the backcountry. All campgrounds are closed.
Washouts and rockfall a kilometre near Three Sisters Damn shut down the road
“It’s impassible. I could only get a kilometre north of the damn. It’s closed from the Mount Shark turnoff to Canmore,” Naylor said.
Highway 40 is also in rough shape. All campgrounds and trails are inaccessible and a mudslide one kilometre north of the Kananaskis Village completely covered Highway 40.
“The road is gone in parts, bridges are gone. There are four or five locations where the road is completely gone. We can’t evacuate north or south, so we’ve instructed everyone to stay put,” Naylor said.
Conservation officers and RCMP officers are currently with campers in the closed areas as they hold tight through the storm. Poor weather means helicopters can only make short trips, so there are no evacuations under way and with up to another 70 mm of rain expected, there is no estimate on when they’ll be able to leave.
Kananaskis Improvement District declared a state of emergency due to the flooding and Epcor has initiated their emergency plan at their operation. Thus far, no boil water advisories have been issued for Kananaskis Facilities, however MD of Bighorn is advising residents to boil water in Exshaw and Harvie Heights.
Twenty-three motorists were evacuated from the Trans-Canada Highway at 8 a.m., after they were stranded by high waters.