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Riverside forest fire threatened power lines

A helicopter flies over Agassiz Mountain, four km west of Harrison Hot Springs, while fighting back a three hectare fire Thursday morning. The fire is an interface fire, threatening BC Hydro power lines, as seen in the top of the photo.  - Jessica Scott
A helicopter flies over Agassiz Mountain, four km west of Harrison Hot Springs, while fighting back a three hectare fire Thursday morning. The fire is an interface fire, threatening BC Hydro power lines, as seen in the top of the photo.
— image credit: Jessica Scott

 

A small forest fire along the southern bank of the Harrison River kept fire crews busy last Thursday and Friday.

While the fire was first reported to be about three hectares, the BC Wildfire Management Branch confirmed on Friday it was six hectares.

It was burning through steep terrain, four kilometers from the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, on the west side of Agassiz Mountain. It was endangering BC Hydro power lines, and the close proximity to the power lines upgraded the small fire to an interface fire.

About 28 firefighters were put into place, as well as six helicopters and an air tanker. Agassiz's deputy Fire Chief Gerald Basten said the fire meant the Emergency Operations Centre was activated, at the Agassiz fire hall. The fire was within the District of Kent's boundaries.

"We coordinated with the RCMP, Kent Search and Rescue, Agassiz Fire Department and the Wildfire Management Branch on this fire," Basten said. The EOC was put into operation on Thursday morning and was kept in place until Friday at about 4:30 p.m. when the fire was in mop up stage.

During the most active phase of the fire on Thursday, access along the river was limited. Hikers were also asked to avoid the area.

The fire was first reported at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, and is thought to be caused by human activity.

A series of lightening strikes in the Fraser Valley contributed to several fires across the region last week. Most of those were under control by early this week, thanks to cooling temperatures and much-needed rainfall.

But forest fire season is not over, and many large fires are burning throughout the province. Fires have burned 172,227 hectares since April 1 – more than the average of 141,000 hectares burned over the previous 10 years.

To report a fire call: 800-663-5555 or *5555.

news@ahobserver.com

 

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