Bracebridge Issues Freshet Update With Tips For Property Owners As Spring Thaw Begins


The Town of Bracebridge issued its first freshet update for the spring season on March 20, reminding property owners what they can do to avoid flooding.

The update said that flooding in low lying areas of the town is a potential risk because of melting snow and spring rainfall, so the town aims to keep the public informed to improve preparation and lessen the effects of flooding if it occurs. Town of Bracebridge emergency planning officials are working with counterparts from the District of Muskoka, the Town of Gravenhurst, the Township of Lake of Bays and the Township of Muskoka Lakes to ensure the public receives information in the event of flooding. As spring progresses, the town will continue to issue freshet updates to assist in flood protection and mitigation, including MNRF flood bulletins, road closure locations, sandbag availability, safety tips and other flood information.

The town recommends that property owners monitor forecasted weather conditions and temperatures to protect themselves, their property and their home. A slow spring with near freezing temperatures during the day and sub-zero temperatures at night allows snow to melt gradually over time, but localized flooding may still occur. If warmer temperatures continue through the day and night, melt and runoff can create a quick flood, which may be further complicated by rainfall. Such conditions caused serious flooding in the spring of 2013.

For Bracebridge properties affected by flooding, free sandbags are available seven days a week at the Fowler Construction – Scale House located at 1206 Rosewarne Drive in Bracebridge.

To prepare for the 2019 spring freshet, read the information from the town about steps to take as a property owner, as well as information about the role of the MNRF and the Town of Bracebridge:


Prior to the beginning of the snowmelt, consider the following if you believe your property or buildings may be subject to flooding:

  • Relocate items of value above the flood level. This may mean items in your basement, garage, shed, yard, boathouse or other structures.
  • Check your sump pump to ensure that it is working. Do you need an auxiliary pump to accommodate high water flows?
  • Do you have an adequate supply of sandbags and sand to build a dyke around your house? Do you know material suppliers? Have you considered portable or reusable water-inflated dams?
  • Access to a portable generator in the event of a power failure.
  • Alternative accommodation in the event that you are forced to leave, such as friends or family.
  • Is your electrical panel above the flood elevation? Know where to shut off main electrical feed to the building to avoid an electrical shock or electrocution. Do not attempt to shut off electricity if any water is present. Water and live electrical wires can be lethal.
  • Securely tie off your dock to the land.
  • Remove lawnmower, snowmobiles, ATV’s, boats, lawn furniture, etc. from flood prone areas.
  • Listen to the radio and television for emergency information. The MNRF or Town may issue high water safety bulletins, flood advisories, flood warnings and emergency statements. Follow directions for your safety.


As part of their ongoing responsibilities for the management of area watersheds, the MNRF:

  • Monitors water levels in major Muskoka lakes and rivers, and regulates dams as appropriate to runoff conditions.
  • Monitors the snowpack across the Muskoka watershed to determine snow conditions and water content within the snowpack. The water content data assists the MNRF in forecasting the melt water potential.  
  • Conducts a daily “weather watch” using data collected from Environment Canada, the Weather Network and the MNRF’s Surface Water Monitoring Centre (SWMC). This information, together with soil and snowpack water content data, is run through a computer model to predict water runoff volumes and river and lake levels.  
  • The MNRF District Office uses the computer generated data to determine if “Flood Watch” or “Flood Warning” media releases are to be issued to municipalities and the media. A “Flood Watch” may be issued by the MNRF when the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities. A “Flood Warning” is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.  
  • Provides daily updates to affected municipalities and Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) regarding potential flooding and flood conditions.  
  • Attends meetings with the Town’s Emergency Management Control Group (EMCG), as requested.


To support the activities of the MNRF and manage impacts from the spring thaw, the Town of Bracebridge:

  • Responds to MNRF flood advisory information.
  • Provides updates to Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) on flood conditions.
  • Issues flood information notices to Bracebridge residents via the Town’s website and media contacts.
  • Maintains contact with the MNRF and private energy generators who control dam structures.
  • Assists with the provision of sandbags during an emergency.
  • Monitors road conditions for flooding.
  • Erects flood warning signs.
  • Repairs washed-out roads and bridges.
  • Convenes the Town’s Emergency Management Control Group (EMCG) as required which includes representation from the Town, MNRF, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), EMO, the District Municipality of Muskoka, The Salvation Army, and other agencies as required.
  • Declares an emergency, as necessary.
  • Opens emergency shelters to accommodate displaced individuals.


Be Prepared (Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
Bracebridge Emergency Services and Preparedness
Spring 2013 Flooded Areas Map
Preparing for the Spring Thaw – Flooding/High Water Information Sheet
Road Status Update
Bracebridge Fire Department on Twitter
Town of Bracebridge (Facebook & Twitter)



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