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Campground obliterated as slide triggers 'tsunami'

A mudslide in Chehalis Lake near Chilliwack buried an entire campground earlier this week.

Canada

Campground obliterated as slide triggers 'tsunami' - Environmentalists fear Chehalis Lake's fish population could be endangered by mud, silt and the effects of stress. A rock slide into Chehalis Lake that buried an entire campground with a tsunami-like wave this week could endanger the area's fish population. "The concerns for mud and silt around fish is that it is well-known to increase stress in fish." Stress can cause serious health problems like fin rot, and silt can make it harder for fish to find food. No one is believed to have been injured in the slide, which damaged two campgrounds and "obliterated" one. The incident likely occurred during Monday's rain storm when part of a nearby mountain slid into the western end of the lake. Since then, about two hectares of debris has been pushed to the eastern end of the lake, where it meets the Chehalis River, a tributary of the Harrison River. The water appeared to have rocked back and forth on either side of the lake, pulling trees and brush into the lake. "A big chunk of a side of a mountain let go. The wall of water that was pushed up out of the lake was at least 30 to 40 feet high as it came ashore at the west end of the lake." Many large trees, including Douglas firs and cedars, have been ripped out by the water. "The water colour has certainly been affected and a tremendous amount of wood debris has collected at the east end of the lake." The magnitude of the damage was impressive along six kilometres of the lake, where the water appeared to have swept back and forth. "If [the debris] all decided to come down the Chehalis River at once, it could cause a damaging effect on the [nearby] community." It is too soon to know the extent of damage to the area, since it depends on the duration and size of the slide.

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