Naramata homeowner Lynn Maw points to the retainer wall, which she had to jump over to dodge a mudslide in her back yard. The mud at the back of the property, she said, is two or three feet higher than it had been before the slide. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Okanagan woman narrowly dodges landslide in her backyard

The slide downed one tree and uprooted several bushes, leaving piles of mud in the street out front

While working in her yard on Saturday, a Naramata resident found herself dodging water, mud and rocks that burst from the hill behind her house after a quarry above became too heavy with water.

Four days later, Lynn Maw and her neighbours are still cleaning up the mud that filled her driveway and the street in front of her house. The slide was so powerful, Maw said she was not sure at the time she would be around to talk about it if she didn’t hop over the retaining wall between her house and the hill.

At least one downed tree and several bushes were uprooted in the slide. In the hill behind Naramata homeowner Lynn Maw's house, a crater can be seen where earth was pushed from its place by an overloaded quarry, travelling dozens of metres into the street.
Dustin Godfrey/Western News
At least one downed tree and several bushes were uprooted in the slide. In the hill behind Naramata homeowner Lynn Maw’s house, a crater can be seen where earth was pushed from its place by an overloaded quarry, travelling dozens of metres into the street.

Dustin Godfrey/Western News

“It looks like a little bit, but the mountainside came down the hill,” Maw said Tuesday afternoon.

Her driveway was spotless before the slide, but even four days of cleaning later from Maw, her husband and her friends, that driveway is covered in dried mud. In front of the house, the stream of mud is still thick, and the water is still running from the hill into the street.

Behind Maw’s house, a crater is still visible from the slide, which downed a pine tree in the process.

“That’s what I was worried about is that the tree was going to come down root first, or even the other way, and you wouldn’t have a chance if you were standing there,” she said.

Maw was able to hop the retaining wall, which stands a couple of feet above the ground, and even without the tree, she said she would have been washed out into the street with the slide.

“I didn’t know how much was coming down anyway. And when you start seeing earth and the hillside coming down at you with trees, I just knew that the only safe place to go was to get behind my retaining wall,” she said. “I’m over 59 and to jump six feet over and down, land on my feet and run in my house.”

When she got to her porch, she said she heard a loud, rushing noise as the ground broke loose and the side of the hill caved into the mudslide.

Four days after the slide, the street in front of Lynn Maw's house is still covered in mud after it burst from its place in the hill behind Maw's house. Maw said she dodged the slide by jumping over her retaining wall.
Dustin Godfrey/Western News
Four days after the slide, the street in front of Lynn Maw’s house is still covered in mud after it burst from its place in the hill behind Maw’s house. Maw said she dodged the slide by jumping over her retaining wall.

Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Maw said she used to hike up that hill in the summer, but with the snowpack as deep as it is up in the hills — about 152 per cent of normal — she is worried about seeing more slides in the future.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s Cameron Baughan, with the emergency operations centre, said the regional district was made aware of the slide when it happened, and the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department assisted with removing debris at the time.

For the most part, Baughan said RDOS went up to make sure it had nothing to do with the regional district’s water lines that provide water to the community, which it did not. In fact, it was caused by an overflow in a quarry on private property above Maw’s house, Baughan said.

But he noted landslides are to be expected for the coming months with all of the precipitation in the region of late.

“We’re in an emergency right now,” he said.

“The water’s getting so high now that it’s a real problem in terms of snowpack coming down and affecting what’s already flooding conditions. These soil slides and some rockslides that we’re seeing now have occurred all spring, and we expect them to continue to occur,” he added, noting it will likely get worse before it gets better.

“This is probably going to be a long, several month-long condition in the regional district of potential slide, potential mud movements.”

More information about flooding and landslides and preparing for those incidents can be found at the RDOS website.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Alberta man dies in snowmobile collision near Revelstoke

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club hope to host major competitions

They are enlarging their parking lot, stadium area, and building short technical race trails

No conservation officer planned for Revelstoke in near future

MLA Clovechok said he has gotten the environment minister to agree to meet with local residents

Government has no solution for dangerous Three Valley Gap stretch

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok met with the Ministry to talk about the dangers around Highway 1

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Okanagan-Similkameen freshet looms large: district

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says property owners have window to prepare for flooding

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Most Read