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Recent flooding will increase the number of mosquitoes in the Merritt-area this summer.

Curtis Fediuk of Duka Environmental Services says the standing water from the Nicola River is the ideal breeding ground for larvae.

"When the water levels start to recede, and when it does we will start to get those isolated pockets of standing water. Once the sit for a while, and start to warm up, there will be lots of mosquito development."

Fediuk says treatments in the area continue, and that helicopter treatments will begin next week.

He adds that residents can also do their part to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in the area this summer by removing any standing water on their property.

New opening burning regulations go into effect within the Merritt Fire Zone today.

As of noon, Kamloops Fire Centre Information Officer Max Birkner says Category 2 and 3 fires are prohibited.

"A Category 2 fire is one to two burring piles that are no larger than two-metres high or three-metres wide, or stubble or grass burning in a area that is less than two-hectares in size. And, a Category 3 fire is an fire larger than two-metres wide, or three-metres wide, or stubble or grass burning in an area greater than three-hectares."

The restrictions will remain in effect until Oct 15th, or until further notice.

The current Fire Danger Rating in the Merritt Fire Zone is VERY LOW.

ICBC is out with a reminder for drivers, calling the May long weekend one of the most dangerous times on BC's roads.

Last year on the Victoria Day long weekend, ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Olsen says 490 people were hurt in 1900 crashes in BC.

She stresses that it's important drivers give themselves lots of time, and prepare for unpredictable weather.

"Remember that posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. On uneven or wet roads or in severe weather, slow down and increase your following distance to at least four seconds."

In the southern interior alone, Olsen says 69 people were hurt in 279 crashes last year over the May long weekend.

 

Flow from Nicola Dam to remain high.

Flood safety engineer at the Nicola Dam Jeptha Ball confirms the flow will remain at 52 cubic metres per second, which should keep level of the Nicola River through the City of Merritt from getting much worse.

"We're trying to maintain the flow through Merritt. If we can get a buffer in the lake we can then capture some of the expected additional flow. It may not capture all of it, but we will try to capture as much as we can."

Ball is expecting the Nicola Lake to peak in the coming days.

"According to the latest data it's close to peaking. Now there was some rain yesterday, and the temperature has warmed up, and is expected to get even hotter. So that may bring the lake levels up a bit further still."

Ball also adds that with the long weekend coming up, should anyone choose to go out boating on Nicola Lake, to be aware of debris that has washed into the lake recently.

Meanwhile, a 'flood watch' remains in effect for rivers and streams within the Nicola Valley.

And, a Local State of Emergency has been now been declared by the TNRD for both Nicola Valley North and South.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District has declared a local state of emergency in Area 'N' Beautiful Nicola Valley- South.

Mike Garrett from the TNRD Emergency Operattions CEntre says the declaration will allow emergency work to be performed within and around waterways, including erosion and flood protection works.

He says work will concentrate on the Nicola River, in order to protect four properties on the Nooaitch Indian Band reserve, and along Petit Creek Rd.

"We just put this out so we can do this work, and protect these properties. It all depends on what the (Nicola) river does."

A Local State of Emergency was also declared for Area 'M' Beautiful Nicola Valley - North back on May 9th.

Residents in both areas continue to be reminded that if they feel they are in imminent danger, they should evacuate immediately.

Those with questions, or concerns can call the TNRD Emergency Operations Centre at 1-866-377-7188.

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