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Massive landslide heralds evacuation alert for 38 properties in Birken, Canada

A two-storey house in Birken, north of Pemberton, was buried up to its roof line after a mudslide Sunday.
A two-storey house in Birken, north of Pemberton, was buried up to its roof line after a mudslide Sunday
Residents of Birken, north of Pemberton, B.C., where a mudslide took place Sunday, have been put on evacuation alert as renewed heavy rains threaten the safety of their homes.
 
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District issued the evacuation alert for 38 properties Thursday, noting that “following the mudslide, and in light of the rainfall predicted, the risk of debris and flooding in the vicinity of Birken presents a potential danger to life, safety and property.”
 
The properties put under alert are located on Birken Lane, Gimse Road, Stanley Road, and Pemberton Portage Road from 9255 to 9383.
Birken house buried by mud in slide
A two-storey seems lost in the slide of mud in Birken north of Pemberton. (Mike McArthur/CBC)
Weather warning
Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for Howe Sound Thursday, and a special weather alert for Whistler and Pemberton.
 
“Rainfall rates of 5-8 mm per hour are likely and the storm total is expected to exceed 50 mm by the time the front moves out of the area overnight,” the alert states.
 
A mudslide caused by heavy rains closed off several roads throughout the Sea-to-Sky region on Sunday.
 
In Lillooet, 50 campers were airlifted out to Pemberton. Closer to Squamish, seven people were airlifted on Sunday and another 28 were able to drive out on Monday when a back road was cleared for them to pass. 
 
Nearby resident Michelle Molnar, who lives in the Birken neighbourhood, said she could hear the landslide a kilometre from her home.
 
“You could hear it rumbling at the top — it would come down, snake through the little drench that it built and end up taking out trees and big boulders. Super loud,” said Molnar.
Courtesy of cbc.ca
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